McMorris Rodgers Grills EPA Administrator on Oversight of Pollution in Puget Sound

Washington, D.C. (April 29, 2021) – Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) today called on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan to hold the State of Washington accountable for pollution in the Puget Sound that is devastating the priority salmon stocks. During today’s Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change hearing, Rodgers said the following:

“Administrator Regan, I think we all agree that, generally speaking, it is better to limit pollution at the source rather than continually cleaning up that pollution. And I hope that we can both agree that the deployment of carbon-free renewable, reliable, electric generation like hydropower is important.

“In Puget Sound, we continue to have a lot of work that needs to be done. A clean Sound will benefit our economy and will also help critical salmon stocks in the Pacific Northwest.

 “One of the main reasons the Puget Sound is dirty is because King County and the State of Washington are turning a blind eye to the pollution caused by the sewage discharge that continues to happen in Puget Sound.

“There are over 70 sewage treatment plants dumping millions of gallons of raw sewage into the Puget Sound every year. It is threatening the salmon species in Puget Sound that are critical to the orcas, for example.

“It is really concerning that once again, these permits are going to be issued instead of actually stopping the dumping of the raw sewage.

“If you look at the Washington State Salmon Report, the Puget Sound salmon are in crisis. Having the EPA remind the state and large cities of its legal obligations will save future clean up dollars.

“I want to ask you if I can get your commitment to look into making large cities, like Seattle, stay within their limits of sewage discharge — just like the small towns in Eastern Washington are forced to do?

“What is happening right now is unacceptable, for the salmon, for the orcas, and for Puget Sound’s water quality.” 

Click here to watch Cathy’s full statement.

NOTE: The Department of Ecology recently proposed a new general pollution permit that would  allow sewage treatment plants to continue to illegally pollute Puget Sound and jeopardize critical salmon stocks leaving no hope for restoration of the species. Cathy has called on the Department of Ecology to protect Chinook in Puget Sound by bringing an end to this lethal dumping.  

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