Ask DEQ to Reduce Toxic Pollution: Send a Comment!
Support Oregon's plan to adopt the nation's most protective water
quality standards for toxic pollutants. Oregon's Department of
Environmental Quality (DEQ) released draft rules for public comment on
new, more protective water quality standards for toxic pollutants. Please join Rogue Riverkeeper and let DEQ know how you feel about this proposal. Toxic pollution and salmon don't mix!
What is being proposed? Oregon DEQ limits toxic pollution such as PCBs, arsenic and mercury in our rivers and streams in order to protect human health. These limits are based on how much fish people eat: if people eat a lot of fish, then less toxic pollution is allowed. However, if the state assumes that people eat very little fish, more toxic pollution can enter our rivers and our bodies. Oregon's current rules assume that people eat approximately one 8 ounce serving of fish per month (6.5 grams per day). Oregon is taking steps to fix this injustice. Oregon now proposes to adopt a more accurate fish consumption rate of 175 grams of fish per day, which will make our standards more protective of human health and our environment.
Why is this rulemaking so important? Many people eat a lot more than 6.5 grams of fish per day, particularly tribal members. Oregon concluded that a fish consumption rate of 175 grams per day (twenty-three 8 oz. fish meals per month) would protect most people who eat fish caught in Oregon's rivers and streams. Tell DEQ you support the 175 grams rate because all people deserve toxic-free food!
Background: The groundwork for Oregon’s new standard began over two decades ago when the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission initiated its fish consumption study. In 2008, the Environmental Quality Commission—the government board that adopts environmental rules in Oregon—directed the Department of Environmental Quality to move forward with developing new toxic standards using a fish consumption rate of 175 grams per day. The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation played a leading role in promoting the new, protective toxic standards. However, it took over two years to develop how the new fish consumption rate would change the toxic water quality standards and how Oregon issues pollution discharge permits.