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Tribal Brownfields: Reclaiming the Land

The history surrounding the northeastern branch of Washington State’s Columbia River is as rich as the metals littering its bottom. For several millennia, its waters supplied indigenous explorers with an abundance of salmon while serving as a trading route and cultural hub for thousands traveling throughout the Pacific Northwest. Follow the river up-stream and eventually you’ll reach the idyllic Canadian town of Trail. With a population of 7,575, it is home to professional athletes, politicians and CEOs. It is also home to one of the largest smelting plants in the world, Teck Cominco (TCM). For nearly a century, the metal manufacturer used the Columbia River as its own personal disposal, dumping contaminated waste into the riverbed. Generations of slag and mercury migrated downstream across the U.S. border, seeped into the water supply and deposited on the beaches. The supply of fish upon which tribes depended for generations was now tainted with…Log In to Read Full Article

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