Gov. Jay Inslee is proposing new clean water standards that are partly based on an assumption of how much fish Washingtonians eat each month.
Inslee’s plan would raise the state’s fish consumption rate from 6.5 grams a day — or about one serving of fish a month — to 175 grams a day, or about a serving of fish every day of the month. He said the new standard is more “realistic” and protects those who eat locally-caught fish as a regular part of their diet, including tribal members and recreational fishers.
The fish consumption rate is part of a formula that determines how much pollution can be discharged into the state’s waterways by factories, municipal sewage plants and other industries.
Businesses have previously opposed stricter water quality standards because of the high cost of upgrading equipment. Boeing on Wednesday issued a statement saying the proposed standard could result in “little to no improvement to water quality and be a substantial detriment to Washington jobs and economic health.”
As part of his plan, Inslee intends to send a proposal to the 2015 state Legislature that would reduce toxics in the water by targeting four chemicals: PCBs, phthalate plasticizers, toxic flame retardants and zinc.
Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler says any new standards must balance environmental benefits with protecting family budgets and jobs.
The Department of Ecology must come up with a preliminary draft rule that matches Inslee’s proposal by Sept. 30. The full package won’t be submitted to the federal Environmental Protection Agency until after the 2015 legislative session to allow for the passage of the toxic reduction bill, Inslee said.
Watch TVW video of the press conference below: