By Lorraine Loomis, Chair, Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission:
Treaty Indian tribes in western Washington are outraged that the Environmental Protection Agency is advancing the agenda of a small group of industrial polluters to undermine public health, science and decades of hard work by rolling back the water quality standards that we have been implementing for almost three years.
The 2016 standards were supposed to make sure that seafood from Washington waters was safe for everyone to eat. EPA’s reversal no longer ensures that the human health criteria adequately protect Washington fish and shellfish consumers – including tribal members ¬– from exposure to toxic pollutants.
Our health should not be unjustly jeopardized by increased levels of known dangerous pollutants like PCBs and dioxins that accumulate in the environment and cause real harm to people, orcas, salmon and the entire ecology of the region.
Why are polluting industries trying to poison all of us? Simply for their short-term economic profit. In the process, EPA’s decisions threaten the integrity of the entire Washington seafood economy.
We will fight this move with everything we have. We will stand with all 29 federally recognized tribes in Washington, the entire Democratic congressional delegation, the governor, attorney general’s office, environmental groups and many others who oppose EPA’s actions.
It is unconscionable to knowingly allow more cancer-causing and other toxic chemicals to be released in our waters.