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Mercury in Lake Whatcom

Today the Washington Department of Ecology released a report that says, basically, that mercury in the lake is less now than in the past. “Decreasing” is the operative word.

Local conservatives are sending out sarcastic emails. “Let’s see how this is reported.” Their point is the environmentalists who have been warning of health risks from our drinking water are alarmists with no scientific basis for their concerns. It is odd to see conservatives selectively deciding to believe a government report. To stay in character they should be screaming about the waste of taxpayer dollars on a study saying our safe water is safe. Why do they believe this study?

Our DOE office in Bellingham has a terrible record when it comes to telling the truth. They have covered up the danger from mercury leaking from the chlorine plant at Georgia Pacific for many years. What mercury danger? Into our bay water and into our air. The mercury in Lake Whatcom may have come from the chlorine plant. Maybe it is going down now because the chlorine plant has been closed for several years.

Fish in the lake have high levels of mercury - high enough that the DOE recommends against eating them. That is not in the report. The source of the mercury is still unknown The reports admits that.

In a few days, the US Geological Survey will issue their report on the mercury in Lake Whatcom. It will be a full report, not a quickie like the DOE released. We will see what the Feds have to say - and if our conservative friends again want to uncritically believe a government report.