SEATTLE -- Washington's Fish Consumption Rate could change in the next month, impacting the state's environmental law and pitting water quality advocates against large business associations.
The rate is a tool to guide environmental policy and reflects how much fish people in Washington eat everyday. Right now, the Fish Consumption Rate is 6.5 grams per day, roughly a bite. Recently, Oregon increased its rate to 175 grams per day, about the size of a fillet.
"The Fish Consumption Rate already is what it is," said Chris Wilke with Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, "People are eating fish at a certain level. What we're talking about is making the regulations for water quality reflect what's happening on the ground."
An increased rate means stricter water quality policy, because the more humans consume, the less pollutants should be in the water, Wilke explained.
Adjusting the rate has been a long battle for environmentalists, and has included federal mandates and litigation.
Gov. Inslee's office established a taskforce to find common ground among environmental groups and business leaders.
Just last week, the Association pf Washington Business was one of 31 organizations to sign a letter to the Governor, restating the need for healthy waters, humans and fish, but expressing reservations about raising the rate too high.
"Looking in ultra-low numeric criteria which will return scant environmental/health benefits, predictable economic turmoil, as well as growth and development uncertainty is not a good policy choice for Washington state," the letter stated.
The Governor's office said a proposal could be released in the next month or so, and the Department of Ecology was working with both sides of the issue on a reasonable medium.