D.C. Ignores Foul Waters
by Editorial Board
Tri-City Herald, February 25, 2008
Money trumps nationality and even fairness in today's Washington, D.C.
Just as it did yesterday.
How else to explain lobbyists and office holders in Washington siding with a huge Columbia River polluter in Canada rather than those Americans downstream -- including perhaps those of us in the Tri-Cities?
As the Herald's Les Blumenthal reported Feb. 17 from Washington, Teck Cominco Ltd. of Trail, British Columbia, for nearly a century dumped slag from its smelter into the river. The dumping stopped a decade ago, Blumenthal reported, but "gradually, heavy metals -- including arsenic, cadmium, mercury, copper, lead and zinc -- leached out of the slag and accumulated in Lake Roosevelt, the 150-mile-long reservoir behind Grand Coulee Dam on the U.S. side of the border."
Who will clean up the mess?
Well, not the people who made it, despite the pleadings of Native Americans and the ruling of federal courts.
Regulators in Seattle and the federal courts are being overruled by administration bureaucrats in D.C.
Even the U.S. Supreme Court let stand a ruling that foreign companies can be held liable for pollution that crosses international borders into the United States.
But nothing is being done.
It seems Teck Cominco Ltd. is big enough to get what it wants out of the U.S. seat of government.
How ironic it is that our government is spending billions of dollars to clean up Hanford contamination and protect the Columbia River. And yet this foreign company will skate free for dumping these heavy metals that will pollute the river for eternity.
Long after the final millirem of Hanford-generated radiation decays to nothingness, deadly arsenic, cadmium, mercury, copper, lead and zinc will still leach into the Columbia's waters as they roll toward Astoria.
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