Sunday, March 20, 2005

Oregon takes one step closer to clean rivers

A little bit of good news for the Columbia River was announced today in the Oregonian,

    Hundreds of acres of wildlife habitat on the Columbia River and nearby coasts will be restored and protected with $1.2 million paid by shipping companies caught dumping waste oil.

This is a great start to help clean our rivers, but this is just taking care of random occurrences of the dumping of waste oil, while a variable cornucopia of toxins at toxic levels are being dumped into our rivers on a daily basis.
Fortunately, if Oregonians are really serious about stopping the pollution of their rivers, there is a more permanent solution which is currently being debated in Salem.

I’m talkin’ ‘bout senate bill 555. Environmental groups are calling this bill the most important water quality proposal in the last 30 years. It is a bill that would phase out toxic mixing zones over the next seven years.

These toxic mixing zones are areas where lead, mercury, arsenic and other dangerous toxins are being pumped into the rivers, namely the Willamette, to be diluted in areas as large as two football fields.
    …the mixing zones permit the dumping of 30 billion gallons of toxic pollution into Oregon rivers. Yet there's no public information about the location of the mixing zones -- no buoys, no signs, no warnings about the mixing zones or the pollution they contain.

I see this as a huge problem that is dangerous to everyone that uses these areas. We should not live in an area where it is not safe to play in the water, or eat the fish, Oregon is supposed to set an example for the rest of the nation to follow. I can see no reason not to fix these toxic mixing zones, and I urge everyone to write or talk to their representative and tell them how they feel about this blatent disreagard to the publics heatlh and saftey.

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