Polluters Dumping into Oregon Waterways

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Environment Oregon Research & Policy Center

Portland – Industrial facilities dumped excessive pollution into Oregon’s waterways 23 times over 21 months according to a new report by Environment Oregon Research & Policy Center. The facilities rarely faced penalties for this pollution. The Troubled Waters report comes as the Trump administration attempts to weaken clean water protections and slash enforcement funding for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the states.

“All Oregon waterways should be clean for swimming, drinking water, and wildlife,” said Celeste Meiffren-Swango, State Director of Environment Oregon Research & Policy Center. “But industrial polluters are still dumping chemicals that threaten our health and environment and no one is holding them accountable.”

In reviewing Clean Water Act compliance data from January 2016 through September 2017, Environment Oregon Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group found that major industrial facilities are regularly dumping pollution beyond legal limits set to protect human health and the environment, in Oregon and across the country.

For example, the report shows that Tillamook Creamery poured pollutants in excess of its permit limits nine times into the Wilson River over a 21 month period, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ICIS database.

The report also shows that polluters rarely face penalties, and recommends several measures to ensure stronger enforcement of, and protection for, clean water. Unfortunately, decision makers in Washington could soon make the pattern of pollution worse.

“In thousands of instances, industrial facilities around the country have released more pollution than they were permitted to, but that is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Alana Miller, policy analyst at Frontier Group. “Many other facilities have further violated the Clean Water Act by failing inspections or filing incomplete reports. Our waterways simply need better protection.”

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Environment Oregon Research & Policy Center works to protect clean water, clean air, and open spaces. We investigate problems, craft solutions, educate the public and decision-makers, and help the public make their voices heard in local, state and national debates over the quality of our environment and our lives.