More good work by Robert McClure and Olivia Henry:
The documents obtained this month by InvestigateWest under the Washington Public Records Act further pull back the curtain on a controversy that continues to simmer. This week Indian tribes will go over the state’s head to bring their protests to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The heart of the tribes’ complaint is how the state sets water-pollution standards. A key part of that process is estimating how much fish people eat; the less fish consumed by residents, the more pollution can be dumped into waterways. But Washington’s estimate is decades out of date, as the EPA has repeatedly warned Ecology. More recent surveys show some residents eat a lot more than the official numbers.
“This is a public health issue and our current rate on fish consumption is just unacceptable,” said Shawn Yanity, chairman of the Stillaguamish Tribe and co-leader of a state-tribal environmental committee. “The science is very sound. It’s all there.”