Federal Lawsuit Inevitable?

Will bill 6036 negatively impact fish on the Spokane River?

The legislature is considering a bill that would extend pollutions control compliance in the Spokane River by ten years. River advocates contend if the state takes this action the river will be more polluted and the Federal Lawsuit under the Clean Water Act is all but certain. OTM reader Jesse Knight offers an insightful take on the situation:

Hi Jon,
We talked about 6036, the Polluter’s Bill, which passed the Senate yesterday. This bill now will go to committee in the house and likely pass unless there is enough public outrage to stop it. This bill stinks for a number of reasons:

-It gives polluters a free pass as long as they make “substantial” efforts to reduce pollution, even if their discharge into water bodies does not meet EPA standards after ten years.
– this is illegal state legislation under the Clean Water act, it will eventually be found illegal after the state wastes some taxpayer money on the fight
– it postpones substantial river clean up, Puget sound clean up, etc for another ten years.

This bill passed the senate unanimously, except conveniently our Senate majority leader, Lisa Brown just happened to be absent for the vote…. It was pushed through the senate as speedily as possible, to avoid controversy and discussion. I’m sure the city of Spokane is hoping this will free things up for CH2M Hill to pursue their wastewater treatment plant and I know the Spokesman Review is for it due to Inland Paper.

I am just a concerned citizen that is worried that this story will not be told until it is too late to do anything, and we have committed our limited state resources on an environmentally irresponsible path that leads us no closer towards the goals of clean water and clean air for our children. I am ashamed that our democratic senate passed this bill. I am ashamed, but not surprised, that DOE would support this bill.

That is probably enough of a rant, I just thought I would bring this bill to your attention, it will likely be ramrodded through the house rapidly to avoid media coverage. I would encourage people to contact their State Reps and discuss their opinions.

Thanks for your time,
Jesse Knight

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