EPA: Harbor Superfund cleanup plan must be approved by end of year
It could be years before a cleanup plan for the Portland Harbor Superfund is approved if the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency cannot do it by the end of the year.
According to Cami Grandinetti, EPA's manager of the superfund project, work on the plan is likely to be suspended when the next President is elected at the 2016 November General Election.
"There will be a new administration, a new EPA administrator, and it could take one or two years to get a new regional administrator," Grandinetti told the City Council during a Tuesday morning work session on the project.
Grandinetti told the council the EPA is expecting to present its plan for cleaning up the Portland harbor in coming months. A series of public forums are scheduled to discuss the process and more will be held after it released. Grandinetti said the EPA is hopeful it can approve the plan by December, but warned of delays if that does not happen.
The EPA has designated an 11 mile stretch of the harbor in Portland as a Superfund site that must be cleaned up under federal environmental laws. Portland and private property owners in the harbor are working with the EPA to develop a cleanup plan. Cost estimates have ranged from $700 million to $2 billion. As part of the plan, the EPA will designate the parties that must pay for the cleanup.
During the work session, Commissioner Steve Novick expressed concern that the more the city pays for the cleanup, the less it will have for other needs, like housing the homeless. Grandinetti replied that was not a concern for the EPA, which must follow federal law to ensure the environment and human life is protected from dangerous pollution.
The following forums have been set to inform the public on issues related to the cleanup:
The Portland Harbor Community Advisory Group, which has been closely monitoring the cleanup effort for more than a decade, hosts a community forum called River for All on Tuesday, Feb. 23, at 7 p.m., at Linnton Community Center, 10614 N.W. St. Helens Road.
For more information: http://www.portlandharborcag.info/node/420
The EPA will host several sessions to provide background on the public, so residents may engage once the federal agency releases its proposed cleanup plan this spring.
Thursday, Feb. 11, open house, 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., information and discussion session, 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Matt Dishman Community Center, 77 N.E. Knott St., Portland
Thursday, Feb. 18, open house, 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., information and discussion session, 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., Wilson High School cafeteria, 1151 S.W. Vermont St., Portland.
Thursday, March 17, open house, 6 p.m.-6:30 p.m., information and discussion session, 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m., S.E. Multicultural Center, 4610 S.E. Belmont St, Portland.
Saturday, March 19, open house, 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m., information and discussion session, 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., Dishman Community Center, 77 NE Knott St, Portland.
Saturday, March 26, open house, 11;30 a.m.-noon, information and discussion session, noon-1:30 p.m., Oregon Museum of Science & Industry, 1945 S.E. Water Ave, Portland.
To learn more or receive updated notifications from the EPA, visit: http://go.usa.gov/3Wf2B or contact Alanna Conley at 503-326-6831.
Various other community and business groups have also scheduled forums where the cleanup will be discussed. They include:
Portland mayoral debate before the Columbia Corridor Association which includes businesses in the harbor. It is set for Thursday, Feb. 25, from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. at the Embassy Suites Portland Airport, 7900 N.E. 82nd Ave.