As negotiations over the Portland Harbor Superfund cleanup slog along, U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) keeps pushing for more money from what he says is one of the Williamette River's bigger polluters: the Pentagon.
At a House Budget Committee meeting on Wednesday, Blumenauer grilled U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on the defense department's role in making the Portland Harbor a toxic mess. And he demanded the military pay more for a cleanup funded by companies along the river.
"The Department of Defense is the largest generator of Superfund sites in America," Blumenauer said, pounding his fist on his desk. "I'm dealing with one in the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon, that was a staging area for the Navy for three wars."
Blumenauer was referring to the military shipyards that lined the Portland Harbor—and the assembly lines were used to churn out steam-powered freighters called Liberty ships during World War II.
This is hardly a new subject for Blumenauer—he's been asking the military to pay for Superfund cleanup for a decade.
Here's the video of Wednesday's exchange.