EPA proposes scaling back cleanup of Portland Harbor

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to scale back the scope and cost of a planned $1 billion cleanup of the Portland Harbor superfund site.

The agency said in a statement Monday that new research shows one contaminant is less toxic than previously thought.

That could reduce the cost of the project by $35 million.

The cancer-causing chemical in question is known as benzo(a)pyrene and comes from burning things like coal and oil.

A 10-mile stretch of the Willamette River is highly contaminated with dozens of pollutants left behind by more than a century of industry in the Portland area.

Environmental groups are angry and are reviewing the new science.

The public has until Dec. 21 to weigh in on the proposed changes.