Oregon: US gov’t backtracking on Portland Harbor cleanup

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Officials in Oregon are accusing the federal government of going behind their backs to undermine a plan, completed over several years with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, to clean up toxic pollution in Portland Harbor.

The director of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Richard Whitman, told a regional EPA official that his department has significant concerns about the changes, saying they could lead to “significant additional delays in the implementation of any remedy.”

Whitman said a draft agreement between the EPA and some of the companies responsible for cleaning up the site calls for more sediment samples to be taken, and for fish consumption rates to be updated.

He said such tactics appear intended to call into question the EPA’s supposedly final $1 billion clean-up plan, announced in January.