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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

State adopts ‘fish consumption rule’ after years of debate

Associated Press

SEATTLE – Washington state regulators have adopted new clean-water rules tied partly to how much fish people eat, ending years of heated debate over how clean the state’s waters should be.

The Department of Ecology said Monday it adopted what’s known as the “fish consumption rule” and sent those standards to federal regulators for approval. The rules set limits on the pollutants that can be released into waterways.

Tribes and environmental groups have argued for more stringent rules to reduce water pollution and protect public health, while businesses and others worried it could cost billions with little or no benefit to the environment.

Washington had been racing to finalize its own rules before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wrote them for the state.

Ecology Director Maia Bellon called the rules “strong yet reasonable” and said she believes it can meet EPA approval.