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Oregon fined $1.2 M for failing to address coastal pollution

By Kelly House
The Oregonian

Oregon's failure to confront coastal pollution from logging, agriculture and other sources has cost the state $1.2 million in federal grant money.

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Oregon's failure to confront coastal pollution from logging, agriculture and other sources has cost the state $1.2 million in federal grant money.

Federal regulators said Friday they will take the money from a roughly $4 million pot dedicated to addressing coastal pollution in Oregon because of what they consider an inadequate plan to control runoff that pollutes coastal waterways.

Instead, they'll give the money to other states.

The decision makes Oregon the first state to face penalties for failing to meet federal standards set in 1990.

Coastal communities will feel the hit in the form of disappearing grant dollars and staff resources for dredging projects, wetland restoration, stormwater management and other efforts. The state Department of Environmental Quality will lose money for water quality improvement projects.

Regulators from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for years have warned Oregon officials they were violating terms of the Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Program. Last year, they threatened sanctions if the state did not fix the problem.

All U.S. coastal states are subject to the 1990 law, which requires them to control water pollution from sources not covered in the Clean Water Act.

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