--an organization of environmental groups on the north Olympic Peninsula.
Base of Dungeness Spit, looking west--photo by Steve Koehler.
In 1997, the Olympic Environmental Council (OEC) based on the North Olympic
Peninsula of WA State, together with 14 other nonprofit organizations and
many individual citizens successfully petitioned the USEPA to assess, under
Superfund laws, whether the Rayonier Mill and 3 landfills based in
residential neighborhoods it either owned or had used in Port Angeles WA
were candidate sites for Superfund cleanups. After months of investigation
by EPA, the sites did score for Superfund listing. However, EPA made a
decision to list only the mill site. They allowed Clallam County and the
WA State Dept. of Ecology to continue oversight of the landfills.
EPA, by law, is required to ask for the consent of a state governor in
listing sites in his/her state on the Superfund National Priorities list.
Governor Gary Locke opposed the listing and asked EPA to let the WA State
Dept. of Ecology (DOE) oversee cleanup. EPA agreed. EPA retains final
oversight, hence DOE is answerable to EPA.
Because the Lower Elwha Tribal fishing grounds and historical burial sites
were part of the polluted area, agreements were negotiated for cleanup
oversight and support for their participation. In sum, agreements were
signed between the EPA, DOE, the Tribe and Rayonier. Those are public
documents and can be attained from Region X EPA or the Southwest Regional
Office of Ecology in Olympia WA.
Also involved in the cleanup are the many local, county, state and federal
governments who have jurisdictions over the polluted areas. The OEC and
its coalition members are recognized for their record in getting the site
cleaned and are integral with these governments in the technical advising
on how the polluted sites should be assessed and cleaned.
Below are OEC, agencies and NGO responses to how to assess marine and soil
resources for both the extent of pollution and for the likely suite of
contaminants from this industry. We will update this site as the process
continues. Hard copies can be viewed at the Dept. of Ecology SW Regional
Office and at these libraries: North Olympic Library, Port Angeles and
Peninsula College, Port Angeles.
Click numbers 1-7 to read May 2003 comments to the Department of Ecology on Rayonier's Draft Work Plan to clean up their toxins from soils near shore, on the former mill site and in the community of Port Angeles, and Ennis Creek surrounds.
Links to conservation-related sites