Jordan Schrader’s piece this morning pointed to comments various tribes made to the state Department of Ecology regarding the agency’s decision to delay establishing a more accurate fish consumption rate. Here’s a passage from the letter the Squaxin Island Tribe sent:
“We want action, not further discussion,” Andy Whitener of the Squaxin Island Tribe wrote to Ecology Director Ted Sturdevant in a letter turning down an invitation to join a group providing advice.
Here’s a sampling of other letters sent to Ecology by dozens of tribes across the state.
We are greatly disappointed by Ecology’s dramatic change in direction with its plan to “revise” the FCR development process and convene a series of “technical meetings.” The state rationale of achieving a more “transparent” process seems dubious at best. We are particularly concerned about Ecology’s decision to strip out the Fish Consumption Rate recommendations that were included in its draft FCR report.
The fact is that we, and most other Puget Sound Tribes, are unhappy with the delay in this FCR process, and think Ecology should use the clean and available science in your existing consumption rate report to move forward immediately.
Ecology’s about face strategy undermines the significant effort and resources that many tribal governments have devoted to working with Ecology for the purpose of documenting the technical basis for revising the fish consumption rate and to develop health protective sediment and water quality standards for the state. Ecology’s recent actions do note meet the intent of government-to-government consultation to provide meaningful participation in the decision making process.
Swinomish has strong misgivings that the Washington State Department of Ecology (“Ecology”), as well as the Governor’s Office, will take strong and effective action to promulgate more accurate (and thus protective) water quality standards and associated human health risk exposure parameters, such as the fish consumption rates, which are much needed and long overdue policy revisions. As stated by myself and many fellow leaders, the “can has been kicked down the road by this Administration,” and the State’s present decision has once again proven that they cannot uphold its responsibility nor its commitment to provide a healthy and safe Puget Sound. For us, this is a serious concern not only for the human health of our citizens but for the sustainability of our treaty resources and rights.