Regional News


Jan 30, 2017

The toxic waste dumped for decades in the Upper Columbia River by Teck Metals moved a step closer to cleanup on Thursday, when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Teck’s attempt to avoid paying an $8.3 million judgment in a lawsuit brought by the Colville Tribes and the State of Washington.  The Ninth Circuit denied Teck’s attempt to delay cleanup and paying costs of litigation in its most recent ruling on the matter.

The Colville Tribes and the State of Washington initially sued Teck, for cleanup of toxic waste dumped into the Columbia at its Trail, BC smelter, in 2008. Since then the federal court has found that Teck is liable under federal law for cleanup of a 150-mile stretch of the Upper Columbia River and must pay the Tribes’ legal costs for proving its liability.

Teck has appealed and also sought to delay a decision on the appeal and its obligation to pay the judgment for years, until all claims are litigated. Teck’s motion was denied by the Court of Appeals last week. The award will cover the environmental investigation and legal response costs in the ongoing litigation.

The Colville Business Council is pleased that the appeal will go forward on schedule. “Teck has been delaying this litigation for years. The Tribes’ determined attempt to clean up the river is one step closer to success. We now have the ruling from the Ninth Circuit and we’ll continue to fight for a clean river,” said Chairman Dr. Michael Marchand.

The Tribes welcomes this ruling as it hastens the day when Teck must pay the judgement against it and all appeals will be decided.  

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