Willametter Riverkeeper Letter to EPA Regarding Oregon Congressional Delegation Letter to EPA

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February 2, 2012


Administrator Lisa Jackson
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue Washington, DC 20460-3300


Re: Willamette River - Portland Harbor Superfund Cleanup Dear Administrator Jackson:


On behalf of Willamette Riverkeeper, I write you regarding the Willamette River’s Superfund site in Portland Harbor. Recently you received a letter from members of the Oregon Congressional Delegation asking certain technical questions of the U.S. EPA regarding its methodology for establishing cleanup standards and related topics. In our view the response by the U.S. EPA, Region 10, was very thoughtful, and demonstrates a remarkable technical understanding of why this portion of the Willamette River should receive a very rigorous, comprehensive and timely cleanup.


Today this portion of the Willamette is highly polluted, and the U.S. EPA has worked with multiple Potentially Responsible Parties to conduct the Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study, which will ultimately lead to the cleanup of toxic pollution from the river. It is important to note that the Willamette River has, to date, subsidized industrial development in this area for many decades, by receiving a vast amount of pollutants over multiple miles of river. In our view, it is time for those entities who polluted this area to give back to the Willamette River by cleaning it up in a rigorous fashion.


The cleanup of toxic pollution from Portland Harbor should be about what is right for the people of Portland and all river users, and should eliminate risk to fish and wildlife. It should also be highly protective of the people who use the river for recreation, and of those who consume fish from the Willamette. As you know, it is about protecting the Public Trust, relating to a river we all share.


In our view the U.S. EPA has done an excellent job pushing ahead in conducting a rigorous Remedial Investigation, and has been more than flexible in allowing the PRPs to have extra time to submit the Feasibility Study. While costs are a part of the overall equation, the paramount need is to do what is best for the Willamette River, its wildlife and the people who use it and care about it.




Travis Williams
Riverkeeper & Executive Director Willamette Riverkeeper