Columbia Riverkeeper has announced it has reached a settlement with the US Bureau of Reclamation designed to end toxic oil pollution from Grand Coulee Dam in the Pacific Northwest.
In 2014, Columbia Riverkeeper settled a similar lawsuit against the US Army Corps of Engineers aimed at oil pollution from eight dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers.
The new settlement requires USBR to join its federal partners at USACE to investigate replacing toxic oils at Grand Coulee with eco-friendly lubricants or switch to using non-lubricated equipment. USACE is currently testing eco-friendly oils, and if these tests are successful, it must switch to eco-friendly oil in eight of the US’ largest dams: Bonneville, The Dalles, McNary, Ice Harbor, Lower Monumental, Little Goose, and Lower Granite. Riverkeeper’s latest settlement builds on USACE’s investigation and could lead to similar changes at Grand Coulee Dam.
“For the first time in its long history, Grand Coulee Dam must reduce toxic pollution,” stated Brett VandenHeuvel, Executive Director of Columbia Riverkeeper. “People rely on the Columbia for clean water and strong salmon runs. Today’s settlement ensures the federal government does its part keep toxic pollution out of the Columbia.”