EPA OKs parts of state cleanwater plan

first_imgSEATTLE — The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday finalized water-quality rules for Washington state tied partly to how much fish people eat, approving some aspects of the state’s plan but deciding in many cases to set stricter limits than the state had wanted.The action comes years after debate over the issue of how clean the state’s rivers and bays need to be so people can safely eat fish from those waters.Businesses and local governments have argued that too strict rules could cost billions with little benefit to the environment, while Native American tribes and environmental groups said tougher rules are needed to reduce water pollution and protect those who eat fish.The EPA said the combination of its own federal rules and parts of the state’s plan will protect residents who eat fish and shellfish from exposure to pollutants.Maia Bellon, director of the state Department of Ecology, said she’s disappointed the “state’s approach wasn’t accepted in its entirety.” The state worked hard to balance protecting human health and the environment while helping businesses and local governments comply, she said in a statement.last_img

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