Canada | Environment | Law

KPLU: Colville Tribes back in court for Columbia River pollution





"A case involving cross border pollution of the Columbia River rests in the hands of a federal judge today. A Native American tribe and the state of Washington have sued to hold a Canadian mining giant responsible for smelter waste that washed downriver from British Columbia into Washington.

This story should really start in the small town of Trail, British Columbia. It's home to a big lead and zinc smelter. The industrial complex spreads across a bluff above the Columbia River less than 10 miles upstream from the U.S. border.

The original smelter in Trail opened for business in 1896. And for most of the time since, the smelter used the fast moving Columbia as its waste disposal.

In court documents, owner Teck Metals acknowledges dumping nearly 10 million tons of slag plus an undetermined amount of slurry containing mercury and other toxics.

Some of that junk washed well downriver into D.R. Michel’s backyard. He lives in Inchelium on the Colville Indian Reservation."

Get the Story:
U.S. judge to rule on Canadian firm's dumping in Columbia River (KPLU 10/11)

Also Today:
Federal judge takes case under advisement (AP 10/10)