By JUNE WILLIAMS, Courthouse News
SEATTLE (CN) — In reparation for contributing to water pollution, Seattle will partner with a private restoration development company to restore a salmon habitat at the Duwamish River Superfund site, the Justice Department announced.
Government officials and other stakeholders in the cleanup filed a complaint and consent decree against the city Sept. 22 in federal court.
Seattle agreed to settle the latest claims, involving natural resource damages on the Duwamish that occurred after a 1991 consent decree, by purchasing restoration credits from Bluefield Holdings.
Bluefield is headquartered in Seattle and uses credits to help businesses settle Superfund liabilities. Superfund law says landowners who cannot restore habit on their individual properties can buy credits for restoration of other properties.
The federal government declared the Duwamish River a Superfund site in 2001. The river flows through parts of industrial Seattle and empties into Elliott Bay. Once a fruitful salmon habitat, the river is now polluted by oil, mercury, lead, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and other hazardous substances.
Seattle owns numerous sites along the waterway, including utilities and storm drains, that have contributed to the pollution.
The city’s purchased credits will fund salmon habitat restoration and clean up contaminated soil, among other projects.
“The city of Seattle is acting responsibly to resolve its liability for injuries to natural resources by acting to restore those resources by creatively utilizing restoration credits,” Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division said in a statement.
“Everyone comes out ahead when parties resolve their liability in this way, and the benefits of this resolution, cleaner waterways, will be enjoyed by Seattle residents and generations to come,” Cruden added.
Stakeholders signing off on the restoration include the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Department of the Interior, the Washington State Department of Ecology, the Suquamish Tribe and the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe.
The consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by a federal court before becoming final.
Courthouse News Service published this article on Friday, September 23, 2016 at: http://www.courthousenews.com/2016/09/23/seattle-helps-salmon-to-pay-for-polluting.htm