New Report Documents Threat to Tribal Treaty Rights and Environmental Justice
SEATTLE – The Washington State Department of Ecology is soon expected to propose new, higher, default fish consumption rates (FCRs) used to calculate allowable levels of contaminants dumped into state waters by industrial polluters. A new report from Borderlands Research and Education documents how big business and conservative and far right groups are opposing increased FCRs, threatening tribal treaty rights, environmental justice and ecological health in the state.
The report, No Justice on the Plate: Transnational Companies and the Right Oppose Fish Consumption Justice and Tribal Treaty Rights, explains how major companies and business associations are opposing higher FCRs by attacking the environmental justice principle that public policy should end disproportionate environmental impacts on communities of color. In Washington State, this includes Indian Nations and Asian and Pacific Islander communities that consume large quantities of fish. Low FCRs also affect recreational fishers in the state more than the general public.
“This effort by big business and the right poses a threat to tribal treaty rights, community health, and environmental justice,” said Borderlands Research and Education co-coordinator Chuck Tanner. “It affects us all by threatening to keep water quality in the state degraded.”
No Justice on the Plate describes how conservatives, libertarians and the far right have joined big business in opposing higher FCRs and environmental justice.
The report details troubling actions of opponents of higher FCRs, including former Attorney General Rob McKenna’s alliance with far right anti-Indian leaders; the Washington Policy Center and Freedom Foundation’s opposition to tribal sovereignty; the Enumclaw-based Citizens Alliance for Property Rights’ promotion of far right conspiracy theories and outright rejection of environmental justice.
“This report addresses a critical issue for treaty and civil rights in Washington State,” said Devin Burghart, Vice-President of the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights. “And it looks at how environmental issues, and a narrow vision of property rights, can foster a convergence between big business, conservatives and the far right.”
The report is available from the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights athttp://www.irehr.org/news/special-reports/580-no-justice-on-the-plate.