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Enviros and Fish Groups File Lawsuit To Raise Fish Consumption Standards

Oct. 11, 2013 | KUOW
CONTRIBUTED BY:
Ashley Ahearn

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  • Chris Wilke (L) of Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, and James Rasmussen with Duwamish River Clean up Coalition, touring the Duwamish River in 2012. Wilke's group is among those suing Washington over pollution standards and fish consumption safety. credit: Katie Campbell
Chris Wilke (L) of Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, and James Rasmussen with Duwamish River Clean up Coalition, touring the Duwamish River in 2012. Wilke's group is among those suing Washington over pollution standards and fish consumption safety. | credit: Katie Campbell | rollover image for more

Environmental and commercial fishing groups filed a lawsuit in federal court Friday calling on Washington state to update the fish consumption rate.

The groups say the state has failed to acknowledge how much fish people eat - and that standard will affect how clean state waters need to be - so they’re suing the Environmental Protection Agency to step in.

Washington has been thinking about raising its fish consumption rate for several years now.

Chris Wilke, executive director of Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, says things are moving too slowly. His organization is one of the groups that filed the lawsuit.

“There’s just a lot of foot dragging going on. They have the information. They have the science and they need to move forward on this,” Wilke said.

fishconsumption_IW_image
credit: InvestigateWest

The Washington Department of Ecology came close to updating the standard last year but after complaints from the Boeing Company and other industry groups, the standard was never finalized.

Boeing executives have said a higher fish consumption rate would cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars in upgrades at its facilities to lower pollution discharges into Washington waterways.

“We’re supporting the state’s commitment to find an achievable solution that’s going to protect the environment and doesn’t negatively impact the state’s economy or our business operations here,” said Joanna Pickup, spokeswoman for the Boeing Company.

Right now the state says it is safe to consume 6.5 grams of fish per day. That’s about as much fish as you’ll find on one piece of sushi. It amounts to two full fish servings per month.

Oregon has set its state consumption rate at 175 grams per day. That’s the most protective water quality standard in the U.S.

© 2013 KUOW
Washington fish consumption rate
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