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Saturday, October 24, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Riverkeeper sues over Hangman Creek cleanup

A cleanup plan for Hangman Creek isn’t addressing pollution from poor agricultural practices, the Spokane Riverkeeper says.

The Spokane River tributary was once such a prolific salmon and trout stream that the Coeur d’Alene Tribe had a fish camp near Tekoa, Washington, the nonprofit group said in a federal lawsuit recently filed in Seattle. Now, Hangman Creek is heavily polluted with bacteria from livestock waste and runoff from fields and developments, said Jerry White Jr., the Spokane Riverkeeper. A 2009 state cleanup plan isn’t adequately addressing the cause of the contamination, and the pollution from Hangman Creek is harming the Spokane River’s water quality, the suit said.

The suit, brought under the federal Clean Water Act, seeks to force the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Ecology to adopt a tougher plan.

“We challenge the EPA to return and rework this plan in order to … return Hangman Creek to a usable, valued asset to our community,” White said in a statement.

An EPA spokesman said the agency had no immediate comment.

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