Under the Clean Water Act, all of the waters of the United States are assigned Water Quality Standards (WQS) to ensure that those waterways are safely fishable and swimmable. In Washington State, which includes the Spokane River, those standards are being threatened, putting the health and safety of our river and all its users at risk. Pollution dischargers in the Spokane River claim that with the existing technology and treatment plans, they cannot currently reach the current state water quality standard for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Along with some other entities, those dischargers have asked the EPA to reinstate older, weaker standards simply because, well, it’s cheaper for them. But our waters are already polluted, the fish are polluted, and now is not the time to relax this necessary standard. For more background on this issue, check out coverage here, here, and here.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Below are the three quickest, easiest things you can do to help protect your river, its fish, and the communities that rely on them.
1. E-SIGN OUR PETITION
Protect your river, and all of Washington’s waters and water wildlife, by signing this petition organized by Waterkeepers Washington—of which Spokane Riverkeeper is of course a proud member. Signatures will be delivered to the EPA at the close of the comment period on October 7, 2019, so please sign today!
2. SUBMIT A COMMENT TO THE EPA
The public comment period for this proposed change is open until October 7, 2019. Please click below to tell the EPA not to roll back its current water quality standard for Washington State.
Got Writer's Block? Your Comment Could Include:
The EPA issued an appropriately tight standard in 2016 to protect the public and the river. The science has not changed, so why change the law?
PCBs can make people and animals sick, and these chemicals are accumulating in the fish of our river.
Our river already has active fish advisories cautioning against eating most types of fish from the river.
Vulnerable populations, including children, pregnant women, Tribal members, immigrant communities, and anyone who eats fish from our river, are especially at risk.
This rollback effort is solely in response to pressure from industry. This sets a dangerous historical precedent, opening the door for polluters to make their own rules.
Clean water is an entitlement to every citizen, by law. Pollution is a violation of that entitlement.
3. SHARE ON YOUR SOCIAL
Are you following us on Facebook and Instagram? Great! Please share action alert posts with your network to help spread the word. In the unlikely event that somehow you’re not following us yet — take the plunge!