How politics is impacting the fish consumption rate debate

(Cross posted at Keep Seafood Clean)

Last summer, the state put the brakes on the process to increase our unrealistically low fish consumption rate. Now a report by Investigate West gives us a look behind the scenes of the pressure changed the debate.

From Investigate West’s “Business Interests Trump Health Concerns in Fish Consumption Fight“:

Ecology emails show that by mid-summer, the agency already had been trying for months to assure Boeing and other business interests that it was coming up with “implementation rules” that would make it easier to comply with the new pollution limits. Among the ideas floated was allowing businesses up to 50 years to reduce their toxic pollution loads. Such so-called “variances” of up to 40 years still are under consideration, Gildersleeve said in an interview this week.

It’s clear from internal emails obtained by InvestigateWest that Ecology staffers were hearing from industry a lot in the run-up to changing course. For example, the head of the agency, Ted Sturdevant, commented on a Forbes article that identified Washington as one of the top states likely to boom over the next five years.

“Not if we pass new fish consumption rates! At least according to industry,” Sturdevant wrote in an email to co-workers.

You can read the actual emails that make up the report here.