S 1394: Columbia River Basin Restoration Act of 2015

This bill amends the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (commonly known as the Clean Water Act) to require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish a Columbia River Basin Restoration Program to reduce toxic contamination and clean up contaminated sites. The program must be collaborative and stakeholder-based.

The EPA must: (1) assess trends in water quality and toxic contamination or toxics reduction; (2) collect, characterize and assess data on toxics and water quality to identify possible causes of environmental problems; (3) update the Columbia River Basin Toxics Reduction Plan (Action Plan) and the Estuary Partnership Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (Estuary Plan) and ensure that the plans form a coherent toxic contamination reduction strategy; and (4) provide technical assistance in implementing and updating the Action Plan.

The EPA must establish a Columbia River Basin Toxics Reduction Working Group to: (1) participate in developing updates to the Action Plan, (2) recommend and prioritize projects and actions for the Action Plan, and (3) review progress made.

The Lower Columbia River Estuary Partnership has to perform those duties and fulfill those responsibilities of the Working Group relating to the Lower Columbia River Estuary.

The EPA must establish a Columbia River Basin toxics grant program to provide funding to develop or implement projects to implement the Action Plan and the Estuary Plan.

S 1394 is sponsored by Senator Jeff Merkley.