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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

March 18, 2013 at 5:30 PM

Cleaning up the Lower Duwamish Waterway

EPA plan is not entirely inclusive

In this Oct. 30, 2012 photo, representatives from Washington ports, the EPA, and clean air agencies tour Elliot Bay and the mouth of the Duwamish River to talk about reductions in maritime air pollution. The EPA estimates a cleanup program would cost $305 million and take seven years. (STEVE RINGMAN / THE SEATTLE TIMES)

In this Oct. 30, 2012 photo, representatives from Washington ports, the EPA, and clean air agencies tour Elliot Bay and the mouth of the Duwamish River to talk about reductions in maritime air pollution. The EPA estimates a cleanup program would cost $305 million and take seven years. (STEVE RINGMAN / THE SEATTLE TIMES)

The decision facing us on Seattle’s hometown river has the potential to be transformational [“Historic pollution, epic cleanup on the Duwamish,” Opinion, March 15]. Now that cleanup is beginning, will we choose an approach that benefits just some, or all of the river’s communities?

The river serves a vibrant mix of residents, kayakers, fishermen, tribes, and businesses, but the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed plan is not expected to protect the health of fishermen and tribal members, and won’t meet Washington state’s health standards.

We can do better.

There is a lot to like in the EPA plan, but to craft a truly equitable and sustainable river cleanup, we need to:

— Protect our investment in cleanup, by enforcing controls on ongoing pollution;

— Remove as much contaminated sediment as possible, to protect against re-exposing toxic waste in an earthquake or major flood; and

_ Hire local, so the benefits of cleanup flow to those who have been most impacted by the river’s legacy of pollution.

Many opportunities to weigh in are coming up — from public hearings, to interactive community workshops or simply posting your comments online. Whatever you decide to do, just do it — the future of Seattle’s only river depends on the choices we make.

–BJ Cummings, Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition/Technical Advisory Group, Seattle

0 Comments | More in Environment, Seattle | Topics: EPA, Lower Duwamish Waterway

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