“Forgotten Toxic Waste Dump on the Columbia: The Bradford Island Story” is next in the Sense of Place series on Wednesday, Nov. 20 at Columbia Center for the Arts. Doors open at 6 p.m.
Speaking will be Lauren Goldberg, Columbia Riverkeeper, Rebeccah Winnier, Northwest Fish Hogs and Yakama Nation Tribal Member, and Laura Klasner Shir, Yakama Nation fisheries program.
Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at www.eventbrite.com/e/sense-of-place-forgotten-toxic-waste-dump-on-the-columbia-tickets-80403351589.
The panel will describe the history of Bradford Island’s past, planned cleanup actions, current fish advisories in the area, and what the future may hold if proposed budget cuts for this cleanup are approved, said a press release.
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Oregon, Washington and Yakama Nation ask EPA for Superfund listing on Columbia
The states of Oregon and Washington joined the Yakama Nation in asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to list the Bradford Island cleanup site on the nation’s “National Priorities List,” commonly known as the Superfund list, said a press release.
The states and tribe’s action comes on the heels of a recent decision by the Trump administration to slash funding for Bradford cleanup, located within a popular fishing area less than an hour from Portland.
“A delay in the cleanup of the Bradford Island site is unacceptable. Current site conditions pose a serious threat to human health and the environment requiring an expedited cleanup,” said Rose Longoria, Yakama Nation Fisheries Superfund section manager.
For over 40 years, the U.S. government dumped toxic pollution in and along the Columbia’s shores at Bradford Island, located near Bonneville Dam. The area is a historical tribal fishing area. Today, tribal people and diverse communities use the area for subsistence and recreational fishing despite advisories warning not to eat resident fish. In fact, resident fish caught near the island contain the highest levels of cancer-causing PCBs in the Northwest. The Oregon Health Authority and Washington Department of Health issued fish advisories warning people not to eat resident fish, such as bass and sturgeon, caught near Bradford Island.
“The U.S. government is responsible for dumping toxic pollution in one of the most popular fishing areas in Mid-Columbia. We strongly support a new approach that protects people that feed their families locally-caught fish,” said Lauren Goldberg, legal and program director for nonprofit Columbia Riverkeeper.
If EPA approves a Superfund listing, the decision would proceed through a rulemaking process in 2020, which will include an opportunity for public comment, and an ultimate listing decision by EPA in 2021.
In a letter sent to Oregon and Washington earlier this month, nine public health and environmental groups urged the states to seek Superfund status for Bradford Island based on years of stalled and ineffective cleanup efforts by the federal government.