Statement from Lorraine Looomis, chair of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, on the announcement of new water quality standards in Washington State by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The treaty Indian tribes in western Washington loudly applaud EPA’s action today to provide more protective water quality standards for everyone who lives here.
Strong water quality standards are important because they help protect us from toxins in our water that end up in the fish and shellfish we eat.
Protective water quality standards are especially important to tribes because we eat more seafood than most who live here.
The new standards being put forth by EPA will be more protective of human health and provide an expectation of clean water.
We look forward to working with the state in implementing these standards including effective pollution source control measures.
This has been a long, difficult process and we acknowledge the hard work by the State of Washington to update our water quality standards.
The State of Washington now leads the nation in protecting human health through science-based water quality standards. EPA has shown great leadership in its efforts to update these standards after decades of delay.
The agency clearly recognizes the federal government’s trust responsibility to protect the health and treaty rights of the tribes, which also benefits everyone else who lives here,
This is the kind of leadership that will protect both the long-term economy and environmental integrity of the region.