Judge Orders US Agency to Pay Yakama Nation for Cleanup
YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been ordered to pay the Yakama Nation for costs related to cleaning up a contaminated island in Washington's Columbia River.
The Yakima Herald reports that the Yakama Nation sued the Corps in 2014, arguing that tribal members weren't compensated for helping plan the cleanup of Bradford Island.
The island is a historical tribal fishing spot, but it also became a dumping ground for waste from the Bonneville Dam for decades. Lead, mercury, PCBs and petroleum chemicals leaked into the Columbia River, resulting in warnings against eating fish caught in the area.
A federal judge ruled that the tribe's cleanup costs should be covered under Superfund laws. But the tribe will have to go to trial over reimbursement for costs associated with prohibiting fishing in the area.