Aerospace giant Boeing finds itself in a fishy fight against Native Americans and environmentalists over pollution in the waterways -- a disagreement that could affect where Washington state's largest employer builds the next generation of planes.
At the heart of the fight, which could impact thousands of jobs, is a peculiar question: How much locally caught fish do Washingtonians eat, and what are the health risks?
Green groups, alone with Washington state tribes, have sued the Environmental Protection Agency to push for increased fish consumption rates -- currently set at six-and-a-half grams a day.
If the number is set higher, it would trigger tougher standards on toxins flowing into the Puget Sound.
Businesses -- and especially Boeing -- are bracing for a possible regulatory blow. Any EPA decision to jack up the fish consumption rates, and in turn pollution standards, could force the aerospace company to pay tens of millions of dollars more to treat storm water runoff.
"To mandate this one-size-fits-all, incredibly stringent requirement that you can't even comply with because the technology doesn't even exist to even measure that standard or comply with that standard -- it's absurd," said Erin Shannon, with the Washington Policy Center.
Some mayors are also sounding the alarm, warning of big increases to sewer bills.
But supporters say the environment and public health are at stake.
"What we're really talking about is preventing future and ongoing pollution with these standards," said Chris Wilke, of the Puget Soundkeeper Alliance. "So there are certain bays and certain species that are already unsafe to eat in large quantities, and what this rule is about is keeping that from happening more."
For the tribes, they typically eat more fish than what is reflected by the official consumption rate -- and are worried about their own health.
"We won't change our way of life. It's like asking the Asian people to quit eating rice because there might be something wrong with it," said Merle Hayes, of the Suquamish Tribe. "This is our culture. Seafood is our culture."
Boeing officials have said this water quality war certainly could be a factor as they decide where to build future planes.
With several hundred thousand local jobs tied to aerospace, all eyes are on Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee to see where he lands on the issue -- and whether he'll fish for tougher regulations and risk losing jobs, or buck the environmentalists who helped get him elected.
Fox News' Dan Springer contributed to this report.