SEATTLE — A battle over how much fish people eat in Washington will be decided in federal court — at issue is the level of toxic pollution allowed in the state’s waters. Conservation and commercial fishing groups have filed the suit, arguing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has underestimated fish consumption and thus allowed weaker anti-pollution standards than are needed to keep the public safe.
Current pollution standards are based on a 1992 estimate that the average person in Washington consumes just under 8 ounces of seafood every month. That amount is roughly equal to one fillet of fish, according to Puget Soundkeeper Alliance.
Plaintiffs in the lawsuit contend that actual fish consumption in the state is much higher than the estimate and the EPA has a duty to correct the inadequate standard under the Clean Water Act.
“Each year EPA fails to fix Washington’s inadequate water pollution rules, it guarantees that dangerous levels of toxic contaminants will continue to flow into our waterways,” Bart Mihailovich of Spokane Riverkeeper said in a news release. “This inaction endangers our citizens. It endangers wildlife. It threatens our economy. It’s hard to believe there is delay in the face of this kind of evidence.”
Read more about the EPA lawsuit here.