Lower Elwha Tribal Community, Washington


Tribal, state and federal agencies signed a joint agreement to clean up the 75-acre Rayonier Inc. pulp mill site in Port Angeles. The state Department of Ecology will take the lead and the tribe has oversight. It will take approximately four to six years and it will be at least nine months before soil and other samples are extracted to determine the extent of the work. The mill is the site of a former Indian village and graveyard, and the tribe has fishing rights in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. "This is the first time I am aware of that a tribal government has been in a co-regulatory role with the state government," said Garin Schrieve, onsite cleanup manager. "It's among the first in the country." Formerly the largest private employer on the North Olympic Peninsula, Rayonier closed the mill in 1997 after 70 years of operation. Cleanup solutions must be permanent and Ecology must consult with and obtain tribal agreement to protect burial sites, traditional cultural properties, archaeological resources, human health and fisheries. A remedial-investigation work plan is due by July 2001. An action plan is scheduled for completion by July 2004, after which actual cleaning work could begin.