"The Yakama Nation has blocked a Seattle–based company from shipping 20,000 tons of trash from Hawaii to a landfill in south central Washington. The tribe is worried the garbage may contain invasive species. But the owner of the shipping company says the trash is safe. KUOW's Meghan Walker has the story.
On the island of Oahu, big bales of garbage have been piling up for almost a year.
Owens: "The main facility has the baled trash in kind of like cubes. They're stacked about three to four bales high and maybe more than a hundred to two hundred bales on site that you can see from the roadway."
Marcus Owens is with the State Department of Environmental Services in Honolulu. The trash he's talking about is headed to Washington state. That is according to a plan by Hawaiian Waste Systems, a company based in Seattle.
Owens: "Now their other two rented facilities have those bales in shipping containers stacked up about three containers high on two separate properties. Altogether they have about 20,000 tons of trash."
The trash was going to be barged across the ocean and up the Columbia River to a big landfill near the Oregon border. The landfill is within the ancestral lands of the Yakama Nation.
But last month, a US district judge issued a temporary restraining order against Hawaiian Waste Systems. That was at the request of the Yakama tribe. The tribe is also suing the USDA.
Harry Smiskin is the Yakama tribal chairman.
Smiskin: "USDA just didn't talk to Yakama nation when they opted to start shipping this garbage from Hawaii to our seeded land area and that was totally unacceptable.""
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