Bringing Polluters to Justice

The Columbia River is a public resource. And illegal polluters steal our basic right to a river that is safe for swimming and fishing. The Clean Water Act empowers every citizen to protect our collective right to clean, safe rivers. Columbia Riverkeeper uses this powerful tool to bring polluters to justice. Because of the steep consequences for violating the Clean Water Act, the vast majority of lawsuits settle before trial. Examples of Riverkeeper’s Clean Water Act enforcement cases include:

  • Challenging Pollution from Heavy Industry. In 2008, Columbia Riverkeeper sued Chinook Ventures for discharging illegal amounts of dangerous pollutants, including cyanide, into the Columbia River near Longview, Washington. Riverkeeper settled the lawsuit and Chinook Ventures agreed to pay a penalty to the Washington Toxics Coalition to offset the serious harm of its actions.
  • Reducing Heavy Metals from Scrapyards & Shipyards. Scrapyards and shipyards are notorious for discharging a toxic brew of heavy metals when it rains. Riverkeeper’s enforcement action against Diversified Marine, a shipyard in Portland, resulted in improved best management practices to reduce toxic pollution.
  • Polluted Runoff from Industrial Log Yards. Industrial log yard can be major sources of oxygen-depriving pollution in the Columbia River. Columbia Riverkeeper challenged RSG Forest Products, a log yard located along the Columbia in Kalama, Washington. In response, RSG agreed to invest in a long-term fix to its dirty stormwater pollution.