Last Thursday, I posted about EPA apparently looking at resetting the approach to the Portland Harbor Superfund site. I believe that the cost associated with the cleanup plan contained in Region 10’s Record of Decision (ROD) is out of proportion to the environmental benefits it would achieve, and despite the 17 years it has taken to produce the ROD at a cost exceeding $110 million, I think a review is in order.

The focus of my prior post, however, is that EPA headquarters was working on a new Administrative Order on Consent (AOC) to perform this fresh look without involvement by state, local and tribal governments. The legitimacy of such an effort depends on transparency on how changes, if any, are made.

News of EPA’s initiative prompted strong objections by Oregon officials, with apparently salutary effect. The day after my post went up, Region 10 Acting Administrator Michelle Pirzeda sent a reply letter offering assurances that the state, city and tribes will be involved going forward. The letter sets a deadline of October 24 to submit comments on the draft plan.

What it Means

While unnecessary confrontation over who may participate in the process is averted for now, the substance of the Portland Harbor reset is likely to be contentious. Watch this space for developments.