NESPELEM—This week Teck Cominco’s failure to manage its operations has once again sent toxic pollution into the Columbia River. It is another tragic assault by Teck on the region’s natural resources. Teck’s disregard for the land, air and water it impacts must be stopped. Our Tribes have taken action to force Teck to step up to its responsibility and the spill this week unfortunately highlights Teck’s ongoing failure to stop polluting and start cleaning up decades of waste in the U.S.

The river is the natural resource and cultural lifeblood of the Colville Tribes and must be protected and restored.

For nearly a century, Teck pumped slag, a toxic byproduct of metals refining, directly into the Columbia River. More than 10 million tons of the granular slag created the “black sand” beaches of the Upper Columbia, a 150-mile reach of the river between the Canadian border and Grand Coulee Dam.

Regulatory and legal processes will continue to guide the cleanup, but there can be no more delay in action. Several efforts to reintroduce migrating fish in the Upper Columbia are moving forward. It is critical that the sediments in the Upper Columbia be cleaned up to ensure those runs have a healthy food chain on which to thrive. Only cleanup will create that opportunity.

 

—Tribal Press Release

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