Tuesday February 20, 2024

Native News Online

In a historic decision, a federal court has ordered the removal of a segment of Washington’s Electron Dam from the Puyallup River, marking a win for environmental preservation and the protection of endangered species. The ruling signifies a crucial step toward restoring natural water flow along the river for the first time in nearly a century. 

The legal battle was initiated by the Puyallup Tribe against Electron Hydro LLC following the company’s discharge of toxic tire crumb rubber into the river and subsequent construction of a “temporary” rock dam and sheet pile wall in 2020. 

The court’s verdict deemed these structures pose an imminent threat to the survival of steelhead trout, Chinook salmon, and bull trout, species all listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. 

The Puyallup Tribe, deeply intertwined with the river’s ecosystem and dependent on its health for cultural and subsistence practices, played a central role in the litigation. The Tribe’s suit against Electron Hydro LLC highlighted the detrimental impact of the dam on fish populations and their historic migration patterns, critical for spawning and sustaining the river’s ecosystem.

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