Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Clark County loses Clean Water Act

Legal Victory: Less pollution from Clark County runoff

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Stromdrain. Photo from stockxchng.com
Clark County’s rivers and streams will see less pollution in the years ahead due to a legal victory limiting the County’s discharge of stormwater pollution. Polluted stormwater harms salmon, contains toxics, and erodes streambanks. After Clark County refused to comply with statewide requirements to control the flow of the polluted runoff, Columbia Riverkeeper partnered with the Rosemere Neighborhood Association and the Northwest Environmental Defense Center to bring a legal challenge. Where was the Department of Ecology? Pressured by the County, Ecology signed an agreement that gave Clark County a special exemption around the statewide pollution rules. The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington found that Ecology’s exemption was illegal and ordered Clark County to reduce pollution and comply with the rules.

This victory sets important precedent that Ecology cannot carve special loopholes to pollution laws and that all Counties must do their part to keep our rivers clean. Citizen groups play a key role in enforcing the law when the agencies do not. Additional details are in the press release and newspaper stories below.
Riverkeeper wants to thank the Rosemere Neighborhood Association and Dvija Michael Bertish for taking the lead on this important victory. Dvija and Rosemere volunteers worked tirelessly for several years to identify the impacts of the polluted runoff. We also thank Janette Brimmer and Jan Hasselman at Earthjustice who represented the organizations in this challenge.
Courtesy Associated Press

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