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Tribe, groups to sue Navy over ship cleaning in Puget Sound

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USS Independence (CV-62) in 1979. US Navy Photo

SEATTLE (AP) — The Suquamish Tribe and two environmental groups have sued the U.S. Navy, alleging the Navy cleaned a decommissioned aircraft carrier in Puget Sound in violation of federal clean-water laws.

The mothballed 60,000-ton USS Independence was cleaned in waters near Bremerton, Washington, in January and February before it was towed to Brownsville, Texas, this month to be dismantled.

The tribe, Washington Environmental Council and Puget Soundkeeper Alliance say the Navy scraped the ship’s hull and sent toxic copper-based paint, zinc and other pollutants into the water. They say Navy should have obtained permits under the Clean Water Act authorizing such discharges.

They want to ensure that other decommissioned ships are not scraped in the same way in the future.

A Navy spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The complaint was filed Wednesday in federal court in Tacoma.