McMorris Rodgers Asks EPA Admin Wheeler to Look into Puget Sound Pollution

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) today, at an Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment hearing, asked Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler to look into pollution occurring under Governor Inslee’s watch in the Puget Sound so we can recover endangered salmon and save the orcas. Watch her full remarks and questions here

At the hearing, Cathy discussed the unattainable water quality standards imposed by the Obama administration and said, “The City of Spokane spent hundreds of millions of dollars to clean up the Spokane River. Local businesses spent billions on state-of-the-art technology to eliminate their footprint on local rivers and lakes. The former Spokane Mayor David Condon was even brought to the White House by President Obama to praise him on this water storage system… Yet despite this investment and praise, these efforts still do not meet the unattainable and immeasurable standards imposed by the Obama EPA.”  

She continued, “I find it odd that the Inslee administration, Governor Inslee, is now defending the stringent federal standard it previously opposed and is now opposing their own standard that they had negotiated. He’s also devoting state resources to a ‘study’ meant to advocate for removing the four Lower Snake River Dams to save the salmon. His Department of Ecology has had a heavy hand in Eastern Washington enforcing these unattainable water quality standards and threatening our dams, while at the same time seemingly ignoring the City of Seattle and King County dumping millions of gallons of raw sewage into the Puget Sound.”

“For too long, Governor Inslee and others have turned a blind eye to the issues in their own backyard, and instead pointed a finger to Eastern Washington as the source of all their problems and how we save salmon… But yet nearly every week we have to defend our dams from those who refuse to look at the science and the facts. The Governor’s focus on these unattainable water quality standards and efforts to tear out the Snake River dams are a distraction from solutions that will actually make a difference. Solutions like cleaning up Puget Sound.” 

Cathy then asked Administrator Wheeler, “I’d like to ask, have you looked at the City of Seattle, have you looked at Puget Sound? What tools do you have to hold the City of Seattle and King County accountable?”

Administrator Wheeler responded, “We would be happy to look into the City of Seattle and Puget Sound.” 

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