What a great piece that the East Oregonian editorial writers put together in late October. In case you missed it, it highlights all the great work the tribes across the region are taking on. As the newspaper points out, all of this work goes beyond benefitting the tribes, it benefits everyone:
NWIFC Commissioner Russ Hepfer of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe leads off the issue with an entirely valid criticism of Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s wishy-washy effort to revamp the state’s absurd water-quality standards, which lag far behind Oregon’s. On the plus side, Inslee finally acted to acknowledge that state citizens eat a lot of fish and shellfish. Old rules were based on the ridiculous assumption that consumption averaged 6.5 grams a day — about one serving of fish or shellfish per month. Inslee raised that to 175 grams a day — still low, but closer to the truth. But on the negative side, Inslee said the acceptable level of cancer-risk from eating contaminated seafood should be 10 times looser than before. This amounts to a huge and illogical concession to big polluters.
Meanwhile, the Quinault Tribe is taking an active role in opposing shipment by trains of millions of gallons of crude oil to the Washington coast, where a spill would spell doom for fisheries and tourism along a considerable stretch of coastline. Oil-shipment advocates may be right that these risks can be adequately mitigated, but it’s good to see a tribe really insist on answers. The burden of proof should be on those who want to change the status quo.