Northwest Voices | Letters to the Editor
Teck using Upper Columbia as 'industrial sewer'
Teck defends efforts
Contrary to the assertions in the April 10 editorial regarding the Upper Columbia River, [“Teck legal slag,” Opinion] Teck takes its role in addressing historical environmental issues very seriously.
To date, Teck American has invested $55 million in a comprehensive study of the Upper Columbia under the direction of the Environmental Protection Agency and with the participation of the state and Indian tribes. The study is being conducted by independent scientists to determine the extent of risk from historic activities in the area — regardless of who is responsible for any pollution.
While the study has been detailed and far-reaching, the results to date can be illustrated by some simple facts. The water in the Upper Columbia meets all drinking-water standards and is of comparable or better quality than water in other lakes and rivers in the state. The state Department of Health has stated that fish from the Upper Columbia are similar to, and in some cases healthier than, fish from other bodies of water in the state. All but one beach (closed due to contamination from a mine unrelated to Teck) is safe for recreational use.
In addition, Teck has implemented a cleanup plan at the Black Sand Beach on the Upper Columbia River and invested over $1.5 billion to modernize the trail facility and improve its environmental performance since the late 1970s.
We have a duty to our shareholders to protect our legal interests in the proceedings described in the editorial. This does not detract from our commitment to working collaboratively with the government and local stakeholders to ensure the health and safety of the environment of the Upper Columbia and Lake Roosevelt.
— Dave W. Godlewski, Teck American Incorporated, Spokane