Silver Valley Action

July 1, Waterkeeper Conference Report -

Executive Director Barbara Miller recently returned from the Waterkeeper Conference in New York.

Waterkeeper assisted her with a scholarship to cover some expenses, and she covered air travel with frequent flyer miles. (Donate your FFM to SVCRC))

While at the conference Miller met with Waterkeepers from aroud the world.  She was given time to explain to the attendees about Silver Valley Waterkeeper and its work.  She called for support and distributed flyers about SVCRC's Action Plan to Stop the Mission Repository.

Miller spoke with Bobby Kennedy, Jr. during the conference.  Kennedy committed to coming to Idaho; dates for his trip are in the works !

At the conference Miller learned about global water issues and an interesting cleanup of Hudson River pollution.

At the conference Miler spoke with former President Bill Clinton about the issues at the Mission Repository.  Clinton requested that Miller sned him more information and this has been done.

Please sign the petition and keep up your calls and emails to Congressman Minnick and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. 

In the mean time EPA and IDEQ have convinced us that they will deliberately ignore public comment and the Inspector General's Report and begin dumping and other activity at EMF on July 1.

As an At-Large Board Member at SVCRC, I encourage everyone to support your community through SVCRC's 23+ years of activity focused on the health and wellbeing of the Silver Valley. 

Dr. Gayle

July 1, 2009 
The people of the Silver Valley tired of being exploited......
"I find this whole mess up in the Cataldo area very disturbing, and I think each of you should be fully aware of these issues.  What is upstream - eventually comes downstream.  And lately our EPA's behavior and statements nationwide have been less than admirable.
  Bev Twillmann
  Neighbors for Responsible Growth"

Jun 30, 2009
Local and National News - Kootenai County, Idaho
MISSION FLATS: Contamination likely

I live in Cataldo, just east of the new East Mission Flats Repository. I've attended IDEQ/EPA community meetings on the repository over the past two years and always felt EPA and IDEQ were doing thorough research on the proposed repository. But on June 8, the EPA Inspector General's office made available their own ($418,000) evaluation of EPA Region 10 and IDEQ's work citing several disturbing problems.

The report (available at raises serious concerns about potential groundwater contamination. It found that EPA's analysis of the site's soil makeup and floodwater penetration issues was inaccurate and incomplete, and that groundwater contamination is likely.

The current design contains no liner to prevent infiltration, and the cap does not extend down the sides of the repository. EPA Region 10 also failed to address the underlying water's low oxygen content, which increases its ability to dissolve heavy metals, thus freeing these metals to flow downstream.

The groundwater beneath the site is currently clean, despite two to four feet of contaminated sediments on the surface. However, according to the inspector general's report, at a nearby site where the contaminated soil layer is much deeper due to historic dredging and dumping, the groundwater has more than double the accepted level of zinc.

My wellhead lies within a quarter mile of the Mission Flats Repository, so contaminated groundwater is a critical issue for me personally. But my own problems pale in relationship to the potential for broad groundwater contamination and further pollution of the Coeur d'Alene River and all the water bodies it feeds.

EPA/IDEQ plans to begin dumping contaminated waste in July, only days from now, as well as beginning construction on a bridge from the I-90 exit onto the repository site. Once these activities begin, I imagine there is no turning back.

I'm asking local citizens to contact Congressman Walt Minnick's office requesting a full moratorium. You can speak to the Congressman's environmental staff person, Devin Nagy, at (202) 225-6611 or e-mail him at You can also e-mail EPA Director Lisa Jackson at Siting a 34-foot pyramid of contaminated soil in a floodplain directly adjacent to I-90 is incredibly convenient but not the least bit wise.

My thanks to the EPA Inspector General's office for the breadth of their research and the Silver Valley Community Resource Center for pressing the IG to review EPA Region 10. 


from the Coeur d'Alene Press,

To the editor: 

Why? Exposure is everywhere. Homes and yards, rivers and lakes of the Coeur d'Alene drainage system remain contaminated by 100 years of mining activity. The integrity of the several existing repository areas of Mullan, Big Creek, Page and the latest one being planned sandwiched between Interstate 90 and a county road is situated at the National Historic Landmark, the Old Mission of the Sacred Heart is vigorously opposed by residents of the Basin. EPA and IDEQ are now proposing more repositories in the Silver Valley.

The bike trail running along the Union Pacific right-of-way beckons recreationalists to follow it along the lake, river and into wetlands where the swans die.

Sadder still, responsible agencies have made no concerted effort to help the children in the Basin. This is a shame.


SVCRC Board of Directors

Jerry Miller, President

The Center for Health, Environment & Justice and 40 groups in 23 states released a major new report, Superfund: In The Eye of the Storm on March 19th which reveals corporate bailouts and climate change-related hurricanes, tornadoes and flooding are damaging toxic waste sites and burdening the financially ailing Federal Superfund.  CHEJ and groups are holding media events and delivering letters to Members of Congress in support of President Obama and Congress's recent actions to refinance Superfund by restoring polluter pays fees. Groups are also delivering a pizza to key Senators and House Representatives to highlight the low cost of corporate Superfund fees. One of the fees, the Corporate Environmental Income Tax paid by companies with $2 million or more in profits, was only $12 on every $10,000 in profits-the price of a large, cheese pizza. 

Click here for Report.
Click here for national News Release.
Click here for national Media Calendar of Events.

For more information, please contact Moira Bulloch, CHEJ at 703-237-2249 ext. 19 or

WE at SVCRC are asking people to call 1-877-922-4264, a toll free number the Obama administration established as a grassroots effort to keep in touch with communities and on-the-ground groups. Briefly explain the situation, (this is how Idaho is and it is unacceptable) how and people here need his intervention. 

Five generations of families are living with chronic lead poisoning health problems.  NO ONE but SVCRC, a 23 year old non-profit is doing anything about it!

30 March, 2009: Superfund: In the Eye of the Storm
10 March, 2009: For years the state of Idaho and region have known about the health damages related to the heavy metal mine waste pollution in the Silver Valley

On Tuesday
, SVCRC staff and board members spent the morning trying to find out how to apply for stimulus funding from the billion dollars given to Idaho that Governor Otter called for project requests. 

We learned mid day that the process to submit proposals was closed more than a week earlier.  When we tried to talk with Duwayne Hammond, Jr., a former tax commissioner, and now in charge of this project at the Department of Finance, he abruptly ended the call by hanging up on us when we asked a probing question.

Lead testing law won't apply to thrift stores

Re: Swans

Sad is the plight of the Tundra Swan, sadder is the fact that the lead that starved the swans still exists in highly toxic quantities throughout the Silver Valley and Coeur D'Alene Basin. As a result, this toxic pollution and tons of heavy metals remain untreated and ignored to go about damaging bodies and intellects of far too many children, adults and tourists.

Federal regulators say secondhand stores won't be required to test children's merchandise for lead.
By Alana Semuels

January 9, 2009

After a barrage of complaints, federal regulators shifted gears Thursday and said they would no longer require that used children's clothing, toys and other items sold at secondhand stores be tested for lead.

Thrift and
consignment store operators had protested that they couldn't afford to pay for the testing, and that doing so would require them to stop selling some goods or even go out of business.

"I am praising God I am so happy," said Trish Taylor, owner of Reruns for Wee Ones, a resale store in Fairfield, Ohio. "I would have had to close down; my employees would be without jobs."

Officials with the Consumer Product Safety Commission initially said that thrift stores couldn't sell any clothes, toys or other merchandise for children younger than 12 that had not been tested for lead starting Feb. 10, as required by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act passed by Congress last year.

Outraged thrift store owners blitzed the commission with objections, and on Tuesday the two-member panel gave preliminary approval of several measures to exempt products made from natural materials, such as cotton and wood, from the rules.

But the commission said those exemptions would not be formally adopted before the testing requirement went into effect Feb. 10, fueling continued protests.

On Thursday the agency backed away even more, issuing a statement saying that "sellers of used children's products, such as thrift stores and consignment stores, are not required to certify that those products meet the new lead limits . . . or new toy standards."

Commission members Thomas Moore and Nancy Nord could not be reached for comment. But a statement issued by the commission suggested the retreat was driven by practical concerns.

"The agency intends to focus its enforcement efforts on products of greatest risk and largest exposure," the statement said.

Although testing is not required, agency spokeswoman Julie Vallese emphasized that secondhand shops cannot sell products that exceed the lead limits and should avoid products that may contain lead. That may mean, for example, that such shops need to be more vigilant about recall notices. It became illegal to sell recalled products on Aug. 14, 2008, the day the measure was signed into law.

Despite the commission's action, some merchants and manufacturers remain confused about the new law and their potential liability.

"If the intention is not to throw a small store owner in jail, why don't they just change the law to make it read that way?" said Cynthia Broockman, who owns two consignment stores in Virginia.

Commission officials say they cannot change the actual law -- that's up to Congress -- and have discretion only over how it is enforced.

Thursday's guidance didn't please everyone. Children's clothing manufacturers still have to comply with the law, which means that small businesses that make children's clothing must pay to get their clothing tested or close their doors. Toy makers also must still comply.

The American Apparel and Footwear Assn. is lobbying the commission to rule that components of clothing be tested before the products are made. That would save clothing makers valuable time and money, said Stephen Lamar, the organization's executive vice president. The association also hopes to extend the Feb. 10 deadline to give businesses some breathing room.

Most big merchants and manufacturers say they can handle the cost of compliance. But Stephanie Wood of Ojai, who owns a clothing line called "Can You Dig It? Organic Apparel," says she will be forced to close shop. Wood's line is made from organically grown cotton and dyed with eco-friendly fiber reactive dyes, but she'll still be required to pay $15,000 to test her line, a cost she can't afford in the current economy.

Publishers and libraries say that they, too, make products that are not dangerous to children but will have to be tested under the current interpretation of the law. Allan Adler, vice president for legal and government affairs at the Assn. of American Publishers, says that only one children's book has been recalled in the last 20 years because of its lead content -- and that book had a metallic spiral binding.

"When the Feb. 10 deadline comes, we're going to see books taken off shelves of classrooms, libraries and bookstores," Adler said.,0,7588285.story
From the Los Angeles Times, 9 Jan. 09, REGULATION

Jan 7, 2009: SVCRC responds to the Associated Press article that covered a $236,000 renovation of Dirk Kempthorne's bathroom and the Department of the Interior in Washington, DC.
Of particular interest was the fact that lead contaminated material was revmoved during the renovation.
How ironic, as many recall, for while as Governor of Idaho, Mr. Kempthorne was invited to a packed house of special mining and tourism interests in Wallace.  At this meeting he threatened to
"throw EPA out of the state" for it's cleanup of the nation's largest lead Superfund site, located here in the Silver Valley.
Many affected citizens living in the epicenter of the Bunker Hill/CDA Basin Superfund site are hoping that the former Governor will be more understanding of lead issues once he returns on January 20, and lend his support for continuation of the cleanup while endorsing financial support for the lead health screening and intervention program.

July 29, 2008
Coeur d' Alene Basin Superfund site Residents Want Their Community Back      
-- Kellogg, ID    SVCRC members will be on hand to share facts and information as to why the EPA and IDEQ should not establish the Old Mission Repository on a floodplain, in a wetlands and at a National Historic Landmark. EPA and IDEQ officials are advertising an open house on July 31st for those who want to find out about a 60% Design of the Old Mission Repository.
"This is just another attempt by the two agencies to disregard human health conditions of lead and other toxic heavy metal exposure into accepting a 600,000-cubic yard, 20-acre toxic waste site at the Old Mission without anyone's input", Jerry Miller long time resident and member of SVCRC.
In April of 2007 those living in the Coeur D'Alene Basin Superfund site first learned, in a news article, of EPA and IDEQ's plan to build the repository. The agencies originally told the public that the site was going to be at Cataldo three miles from the Mission and that several groups, including the Coeur d'Alene tribe, approved of the location.
Silver Valley Community Resource Center, a grassroots organization that has been following the cleanup and holding EPA accountable for years, learned that the site was going to be at the Mission and the public had not been informed.
EPA orginially proposed the site to be 60 ft. tall and open in the summer of 2007.  Because of public opposition from the communtiy and several environmental groups, including the tribe, churches, the community at large and the Eastside Road District, the site was halted. Presently, EPA Inspector Generals are reviewing the procedures of the two agencies in selection and purchase of the site.
In May of 2007, Rob Hansen Idaho DEQ announced at a meeting of stakeholders in Coeur d'Alene that the Mission Repository was the "only location in 400 that fit the criteria" for a toxic waste repository in the 1500 square mile Superfund site.
"This is just another example of governmental agencies and special interests taking advantage of a vulnerable, low income community" says Barbara Miller, Director of SVCRC. 
Sign our on-line petition

On March 5,2008, SVCRC received information about the Mission Respository and a news story in the Coeur d'Alene Press. The information referred to Barbara Miller, SVCRC director, as "not a credible person and was never to be quoted" in news stories at the CDA Press.

This attack is coincidental to a story indicating that Duane Hagadone,Coeur d'Alene Resort and newspaper owner, was desperate to locate a place to deposit tons of toxic waste from Blackwell Island.
This raises a degree of suspicion that EPA and IDEQ may have been collaborating with special interests to establish the Mission Repository.

One the web site of Hagadone Corporation it states:  " In Publishing we bring the communities that we serve superior unbaised news coverage."

EPA National Priorities List (NPL) Sites in Idaho   

January 11, 2006  
John K. Wiley, Associated Press 
EPA official says he'll rejoin Silver Valley panel

SPOKANE (AP) — Reversing an earlier stance, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Michael Bogert said today he will sit on a commission that oversees the cleanup of northern Idaho’s Silver Valley.

Bogert said the EPA’s Office of General Counsel concluded he could serve as the federal representative on the Idaho commission because it was in the best interest of the agency.

The EPA is cleaning up more than a century of mining waste contamination at one of the nation’s largest Superfund sites at Kellogg, Idaho.

Bogert, a former legal adviser to Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne when the basin commission was created, had recused himself in August from participating in any EPA matter involving parties that he had previously represented.

But Bogert said sitting on the seven-member Coeur d’Alene Basin Environmental Improvement Project Commission would benefit his agency.

“In this instance, perhaps consideration of having me serve as the federal representative to the basin commission would be in the best interest of the EPA, and they granted and gave me approval to participate,” Bogert said in a telephone interview from Boise.

Bogert said his staff made the argument to the EPA’s general counsel that his knowledge and experience would be beneficial to the federal government and to advancing cleanup work in the basin.

“The issue is whether a reasonable person could raise concerns about whether or not decisions could be made impartially by the federal decision-maker,” he said, noting that his decisions can be appealed.

But a representative of the Sierra Club said Bogert’s presence on the commission tips the balance to Idaho interests which oppose expansion of the Silver Valley Superfund to include the entire Coeur d’Alene Basin.

John Osborn, a Spokane physician and official of the Sierra Club’s Upper Columbia chapter, said Bogert was a leading architect of Idaho’s opposition to a basin-wide cleanup of mining contamination.

“One of the reasons we opposed the basin commission in the first place, the basin commission was an effort launched by the Idaho Legislature to transfer control of the cleanup from the EPA to Idaho state control,” he said. “It was structured to be heavily tilted toward Idaho interests.”

Bogert succeeds Ron Kreizenbeck, the deputy regional administrator, who has served on the commission since August 2004. Kreizenbeck will remain as Bogert’s alternate on the commission.

Bogert said he intends to meet with Coeur d’Alene tribal officials and the Washington state representative on the commission to get their views.

The commission, created by the Idaho Legislature in 2001, approves cleanup work plans, prioritizes work, and shares information about cleanup efforts. It includes representatives from the federal government, the states of Idaho and Washington, the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, and three north Idaho counties.

The EPA has spent more than $250 million to clean up the 21-square mile Bunker Hill site at Kellogg, Idaho, a mining and smelting complex that closed in 1981 and was named a Superfund site in 1983.

The site is part of the much larger 1,500-square-mile Coeur d’Alene River Basin, which flows into Lake Coeur d’Alene and into Washington via the Spokane River.

Bike Aid Pedals Once More Through Silver Valley -

Riders for peace and social justice visit the Bunker Hill Superfund site and learn about Kellogg's community   

Kellogg, ID--It seems like yesterday when Global Exchange, a human rights group in San Francisco, first contacted Barbara Miller of the SVCRC and asked to host Bike Aid - an epic cross-country bicycle journey for peace and social justice. Every year, Bike Aid cycles from Seattle to Washington, DC with a mission for change, challenging the status quo and advocating for peace and social justice. In the course of their trip, they are often hosted by groups who have similar programs of social and environmental outreach.
"I know the work that SVCRC has undertaken over the years in cleaning up the Bunker Hill Superfund site is of interest to the riders," says Barbara Miller, director of the SVCRC. "They are very supportive of our work, holding government agencies such as the EPA accountable for the cleanup and getting medical help to lead poisoned residents. We share a commitment to making our community a better place for all people".
2006 marks the 14th year that Bike Aid has stopped in Kellogg. This year, they will arrive on Saturday, June 17 and will depart on Sunday morning June 18. Kellogg's residents will feed the riders a delicious dinner with plenty of carbs and show the documentary of the Superfund site, Heavy Metal. Sunday morning they will eat heartily at Sam's restaurant before heading to Mullan where they will briefly meet with Mullan city council members before heading to Montana.
Deb Edrozo, the director of Bike Aid emphasizes how much the group appreciates not only the welcoming hospitality of their Kellogg hosts, but also the opportunity to connect and share the experiences of the SVCRC and its positive impact to enlighten others.
Global Exchange is an international human rights organization that seeks to create people-to-people ties, fostering understanding between people who rarely have the opportunity to connect. In addition to Bike Aid the group leads "Reality Tours" to places where the U.S. has traditionally had interest or conflict and also has campaigns that promote active participation in creating a just, sustainable world, locally, nationally and globally.  

Pediatricians Urge a Precautionary Approach to Toxic Lead, Sept 2005

September 29, 2005 - Superfund 25th Anniversary Report Finds America’s Safety Net is Weakest When Needed Most 

Silver Valley Community Resource Center Calls on EPA to keep communities safe from toxins

Kellogg, Idaho. The Silver Valley Community Resource Center joined with over 50 organizations across the country to release the"25th Anniversary of Superfund: America’s Safety Net in Crisis," a national report which finds the program is at its weakest, at a time when it is needed most to respond to the toxic emergencies.

On the 25th anniversary of Superfund, and the upcoming 2nd anniversary on October 1st of Superfund’s depletion by the loss of polluter pays fees, the report finds that the once-robust and successful toxic waste safety net is now in crisis.

Since its creation in 1980, Superfund has cleaned up 936 sites protecting hundreds of communities. EPA has secured over $22 billion from polluters who have funded approximately 70% of the site cleanups (the remaining 30% are cleaned up with Superfund monies).

Since polluter pays fees expired in 1995, and Congress refused to reinstate them, the burden on taxpayers to support the Superfund Trust Fund has increased by 300%. Taxpayers now fully shoulder the burden of the program’s $1.2 billion annual appropriation to clean up abandoned sites. "This unfair situation has occurred since the Bush Administration made a policy decision to give polluters a free ride and pass the bill on to taxpayers," noted Lois Gibbs, Executive Director of the Center for Health, Environment & Justice, a co-author of the report. It is the first and only administration to oppose the reinstatement of polluter pays fees. When the fees expired in 1995, Superfund had a surplus of $3.8 billion—but on October 1, 2003 all industry fee monies were spent shifting the burden totally to taxpayers.

Superfund has a weakened Trust Fund with a decrease in funding of $600 million annually—from $1.8 billion in 1993 to $1.2 in 2004—according to a recent federal report.

Consequently, Superfund cleanups have slowed to a crawl with an approximate 80% reduction in annual site cleanups—from 88 sites in 1997 to just 16 sites cleaned up in 2005. *

The report includes a Superfund Site Profile for every state in the U.S. with community updates describing health problems, including birth defects and cancer. 

"The Bunker Hill Superfund site in North Idaho and Eastern Washington was first designated in 1983. Interior of homes and schools have yet to be remediated and there remains a grave concern with all the mine pollution remaining in yards and Coeur d’Alene Lake and river banks of the Coeur d’Alene and Spokane rivers", says Cass Davis, SVCRC Board member. Recently in an order to close the gap of resources being eliminated because of the Bush Administration not replenishing the polluter pays tax, SVCRC has affiliated with a Clear Corps USA a national organization for lead education and outreach. "Superfund is supposed to be our safety net when toxic emergencies occur," said Gibbs. "Now on its 25th anniversary, it is time for Congress to restore the hazardous waste fees on polluting industries. The core principle is that polluters—not taxpayers—should pay to clean up these toxic waste sites. The ailing Superfund is at its weakest when we need it most to quickly respond to the horrific pollution from toxic and oil waste releases and flooded toxic waste sites resulting from Hurricane Katrina."

For more information, please visit  (* As of September 14, 2005, 16 sites have been remediated in Fiscal Year 2005, which ends on September 30, 2005) 

National Academy of Sciences Recommendations Reinforce the Need for Community Lead Health Clinic, Bunker Hill Superfund Site. Aug 2005: Refer to Projects   

NAS Rules on Behalf of Affected Citizens: refer to page

Kellogg, Idaho, Community Profile .(Last modified on: June 15, 1999.)

Medical Monitoring Program. June 6, 1998

Group Project : Hazardous Waste Disposal / Liz Kalter, John Grant, and Rod Shroufe.(July 30, 1997)

Hazardous Waste Conference 1993 - Barbara L. Miller, a community organizer for the Silver Valley Peoples Action Coalition in Kellogg, Idaho, discusses the Bunker Hill Superfund site. Citizens and the local health community have been disputing the health effects caused by lead exposure. She discusses the attitudes of the community and the concerns they had with the company's doctors.

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