Grants Database

Earthrise Law Center at Lewis & Clark College
Amount Awarded:
Project Title:
Strengthening Regulatory Programs for a Clean Columbia
Columbia River Fund, 2019
Project Description:

Along with project partner Northwest Environmental Advocates, Earthrise Law Center, funding will support making the Clean Water Act regulatory programs more effective in controlling pollution throughout the Columbia River basin, and specifically including the main stem of the Columbia. The project has three main components:
1) Engagement with governmental policymakers in Oregon and Washington to obtain more protective water quality standards related to arsenic, cyanide, selenium, zinc, industrial chemicals and pesticides, temperature and fine sediment, as well as “contaminants of emerging concern,” such as pharmaceuticals, personal care products, and other chemicals including PBDE, a flame retardant which is now found throughout the Columbia basin at levels likely to adversely impact people, aquatic life, and wildlife, including lamprey, osprey, and orca. Since these water quality standards are the foundation for many regulatory actions, setting adequate standards is a critical threshold step in protecting water quality.
2) Improving the lists of impaired waters in Oregon and Washington, including the development of clean-up plans, also called Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs), for those impaired waters. Like water quality standards, impaired waters lists and TMDLs are foundational elements of the Clean Water Act; thus, improving them will lead to better water quality protections, and support advocacy efforts seeking stronger permits.
3) Address both nonpoint sources (e.g., runoff from agriculture and logging) in Oregon and Washington, and point sources (e.g., industrial and municipal dischargers) in Oregon through strategically-targeted legal advocacy. This work is critical because nonpoint sources in these areas are generally under-regulated despite the devastating water quality impacts of nonpoint source pollution. Similarly, strengthening the requirements for point source discharges, of which there are many in the Columbia River basin, will help reduce direct discharges of pollution into those waters.