The Portland Harbor Superfund site reached a key milestone on June 8 when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released their Proposed Plan for the cleanup. We are committed to a cleanup of the Lower Willamette River that protects the health of Portlanders and our environment, and to finding the most cost-effective way to achieve it. We have been very active in addressing this legacy contamination and we are aware of the important health benefits and positive economic benefits a clean harbor can bring. After years of study and early cleanup work, we are ready for the next step.
In September, we submitted comments to the EPA about their Proposed Plan. In our comments, we offer EPA constructive and targeted modifications to their plan with the hope of getting cleanup to move forward. We have also informed the EPA that we will not host a Confined Disposal Facility at marine Terminal 4, an option offered in the Proposed Plan. We are not interested in taking on long-term management of a facility that our neighbors adamantly oppose, and one with uncertain economics and risks.
While there are a few positive developments, EPA’s Proposed Plan and Feasibility Study do not resolve the significant concerns we have been raising for years with EPA’s approach. The cost to clean up Portland Harbor is significant at a time when our city and region are facing many critical affordability issues, and we are seeking a change in EPA’s approach that will enable the use of equally protective, more cost-effective solutions to move forward with cleanup.
We expect EPA will issue its final plan for cleanup – known as the Record of Decision – in early 2017.