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Columbia Riverkeeper's mission is to restore and protect the water quality of the Columbia River and all life connected to it, from the headwaters to the Pacific Ocean.
The Columbia River is the lifeblood of the Pacific Northwest, but it is a river in crisis. The demands on the Columbia River continue to increase as population and commerce grows, creating an increasing need for environmental protection. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1,048,853 tons of carcinogens are still directly discharged into the Columbia River each year, making the Columbia River one of the most contaminated rivers in the country for cancer-causing pollutants. Toxic pollution continues to run unabated into the Columbia's waters. Near the Tri-Cities, radioactive and chemical plumes at the Hanford Nuclear Site continue to impact groundwater and river water quality. Over 180 square miles of contaminated groundwater are a legacy of our neglect. A recent EPA/CRITFC scientific study found toxicity levels in many Columbia River fish significantly violate human health standards. Yet, with fourteen damns, thirteen pulp mills and 1,243 miles to oversee, the governmental agencies responsible for protecting the water quality of the Columbia are under-funded and understaffed. As a result, environmental policies and laws are often violated. In lieu of the increasing threats, the Columbia River needs a voice to speak and act on its behalf. This is the role of Columbia Riverkeeper.
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