"Milestone Report on Portland Harbor Pollution Lowballs Risk, EPA Says"

"An exhaustive report on Portland Harbor contamination -- written by industries and local government agencies that will likely have to pay for much of the cleanup -- tends to 'minimize the risks to human health and the environment' from harbor pollution, federal regulators say.

The 13-page critique is a strong signal from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which oversees Oregon's largest Superfund site, that it plans to hold polluters and land owners' feet to the fire on harbor cleanup.

The work is expected to cost up to $1 billion, paid for industry, landowners and Portland's sewer and utility ratepayers.

EPA officials say the October report from the Lower Willamette Group prematurely rules out some harbor contaminants as threats to wildlife and overstates uncertainties about the pollution's risk to human health."

Scott Learn reports for the Oregonian January 21, 2010.

Source: Portland Oregonian, 01/22/2010