Earthjustice Refuses to Commit to Cleaning Up Puget Sound

Washington, D.C. (May 13, 2021) – During today’s Energy and Commerce Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee hearing, Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) pushed for a commitment from Earthjustice to hold the City of Seattle accountable for illegal pollution in Puget Sound in an effort to protect the critically endangered Puget Sound Chinook and Steelhead Salmon.

Cathy asked Earthjustice Northwest office Staff Attorney Amanda Goodin whether or not her organization would commit to ensuring the City of Seattle complies with federal pollution regulations, which she refused to answer directly. CLICK HERE or below to watch the exchange.

CMR: “At an EPA budget hearing two weeks ago, I mentioned the City of Seattle has been repeatedly exceeding its Clean Water Act approved limits for dumping sewage into Puget Sound.   

“The State of Washington directly and scientifically correlates that these continued dumpings of sewage [are] damaging the salmon population. In fact, Puget Sound Chinook and Puget Sound Steelhead, their populations are in crisis. NOAA has identified these specific salmon in Puget Sound as the highest priority to save the orcas.

“Governor Inslee and the Washington Department of Ecology recently proposed a general pollution permit that would allow 58 sewage treatment plants in King County to continue the illegal dumping of sewage in Puget Sound.

“EPA Administrator Regan committed to me to take action to keep the City within its permitted discharge limits.

“Ms. Goodin, because exceeding a permitted discharge level of pollutants can lead to an additional Superfund designation, will Earthjustice also commit to demanding that the City, the State, and the EPA ensure that the City of Seattle comply with these discharge levels?

Goodin: “Representative Rodgers, we take a number of actions to try and clean up the waters in and around Puget Sound, and throughout Washington, to protect salmon and Steelhead, as I believe you’re aware.”

CMR: “Have you looked specifically at these discharge permits? They’re under review right now.”

Goodin: “I personally have not, and I would have to ask to see whether anyone in my entire organization has.”

NOTE: On the same day as the Andrus Center 2021 Environmental Conference where some will continue to characterize the four Lower Snake River dams as being the greatest threat to Pacific salmon, Cathy – a strong defender of the Puget Sound – took the opportunity to set the facts straight. She is committed to holding polluters accountable and working on real solutions that will actually lead to better results for the region’s salmon populations, without jeopardizing Washington state’s clean, reliable, renewable, and affordable energy.

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