by Ronnie Estoque
Cars honked and community members chanted while crossing the South Park Bridge on Friday, Sept. 24. They were voicing concerns over the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed changes to the cleanup of the Duwamish River. In 2001, the Duwamish River was listed as a federal Superfund site, one of the country’s most toxic hazardous-waste sites.
“We’re asking for this river to get cleaned up the way we agreed to in 2014 … to change things now makes no sense at all,” James Rasmussen, Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition (DRCC) Superfund manager and member of the Duwamish Tribe, said. “That’s why we’re here today. We want to clean this river the best possible way we can.”
Continue reading Duwamish River Cleanup Rally Challenges EPA Proposed Changes
by Andrew Engelson
The Seattle City Council unanimously approved legislation on Monday, July 12, pushed by Mayor Jenny Durkan to purchase two parcels of land for affordable housing to address the growing pressure of housing displacement in the South Park neighborhood .
The lots at the intersection of 14th Avenue South and South Henderson Street will be purchased for $3.65 million and eventually developed into between 70 and 120 units of housing, according to Stephanie Velasco, a spokesperson for the Seattle Office of Housing. Responding to input from the neighborhood (including a sizable Latino community), the project will include many three-bedroom units appropriate for multigenerational families.
“Now we can start building the dream of housing that will go there,” said Maria Ramirez, chair of the Duwamish Valley Affordable Housing Coalition (DVAHC). “It’s a big move forward to bring in a bunch of units of new housing — quality housing that’s affordable at different levels of [area median income]. And family housing. It’s going to be community-led. We’re going to design something that the community wants and has been asking for.”
Continue reading More Affordable Housing Coming to South Park
by Ben Adlin
Shape Our Water is a community-centered project from Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) and KVRU 105.7 FM, a hyperlocal low power FM station in South Seattle, to plan the next 50 years of Seattle’s drainage and wastewater systems. Funded by SPU, the project spotlights members of local community-based organizations and asks them to share how water shapes their lives. Our latest conversation is with Maggie Angel-Cano, community engagement and communications specialist for the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition.
Growing up in South Park, Maggie Angel-Cano spent years without realizing Seattle’s only river ran through her neighborhood.
“We had no idea there was a river in the community,” she said. “We just, you know, lived our daily life: work, school, back home.”
Continue reading Shape Our Water: Magdalena ‘Maggie’ Angel-Cano
by Christy Carley
(This article was originally published by Real Change and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
In late January, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed a change to the cleanup plan for the Lower Duwamish River, one of the nation’s most polluted waterways, which was declared a Superfund site in 2001. The proposal — which would allow for higher levels of certain pollutants to remain in the river sediment — generated frustration amongst community groups in South Seattle, who called for an extension of a public comment period on the change. Public comment now lasts until April 21.
At the center of the EPA’s proposal is a pollutant called benzo(a)pyrene (BaP), a carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (cPAH) that comes from burning coal and oil and is present in the sediment of the Duwamish River.
Continue reading Community Groups Oppose Slated Change to Duwamish River Cleanup
by Paulina López and Troy D. Abel
Recently, legislative debates turned from carbon pricing to the Healthy Environment for All Act (HEAL) uplifting environmental justice (EJ). This is important legislation, but what we really need are bold solutions and different laws addressing a persistent form of unjust and ongoing pollution. Air toxic exposure disparities and their impacts on communities like the Duwamish Valley are still being ignored by politicians and industry. This inattention continues even as new research suggests that higher air pollution may increase COVID-19 vulnerability and deaths.
Many environmentalists in our region not only overlook decades of toxic air pollution injustice, some even gloss over the problem. In January, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Seattle office announced that industrial toxic releases declined in the Northwest. Pollution dropped 12% in 2019 for 752 facilities in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska. They further asserted “that U.S. companies that use and manage chemicals and metals continue to make progress in preventing pollution.”
But we knew that regional averages likely obscured trends in our heavily polluted Duwamish River Valley neighborhoods of Georgetown and South Park — often first documented by our community. EPA analysts lumped air, water, and land pollution together. When viewed separately, air and water pollution went up in the Northwest. Surface-water discharges increased by 1.17 million pounds and air pollution by 610 thousand pounds between 2018 and 2019.
Continue reading OPINION: Clean Air Everywhere, for Everyone in Washington
by Jack Russillo
After failing to meet pollution control deadlines, Seattle Iron & Metals Corporation (SIMC) will pay $90,000 to fund ecological restoration and pollution mitigation work in the Duwamish River Valley.
SIMC, a scrap metal and vehicle recycling facility on the 600 block of South Myrtle Street, agreed to new pollution control measures with Puget Soundkeeper, an environmental nonprofit, in a settlement reached in January 2019. The initial settlement required SIMC to make over $1 million worth of improvements at its facility to control air pollution, wastewater emissions, and polluted stormwater discharges. Under the settlement, SIMC also agreed to pay $200,000 to the Rose Foundation to fund local restoration and pollution mitigation work in the community.
Continue reading Seattle Iron & Metals to Pay Additional Penalties After Failing to Meet Environmental Regulations