Sept. trial set over Columbia River pollution



YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — A federal judge has rejected efforts by a Canadian smelter to drag other companies into a legal fight over Columbia River pollution.

Washington state officials say the ruling paves the way for a September trial and potentially saves the government from having to pay to clean up pollutants from the reservoir behind Grand Coulee Dam.

The Colville Tribes sued Teck Cominco Metals Ltd. in 2004, and the state signed onto the case. They say the company’s zinc smelter in Trail, British Columbia released hazardous substances into the Columbia River for a century.

Teck Cominco had argued it should only be responsible for part of the cleanup. But U.S. District Judge Lonny R. Suko ruled last week that the company should pay for the cleanup if found liable.