Silver Valley Action

NAS Rules on Behalf of Affected Citizens
July 2005

In 2000 EPA officially extended the Bunker Hill Superfund site to include 1500 more square miles of pollution. It was this same year that the Silver Valley Community Resource Center was able to employ a technical assistance director with funding from an EPA TAG, Technical Assistance Grant that accompanies every designated Superfund site. TAG's are appropriated in order to give citizens living in contaminated communities and Superfund sites access to experts who have the ability to wade through all the scientific studies conducted within the site. 

For more than a decade the citizens of the Bunker Hill Superfund site designated the 2nd largest Superfund site in the nation at that time were denied the TAG. It was not until 1994 when SVCRC hosted a meeting in Kellogg at Elk Creek with Elliott Laws, former Assistant Administrator for Solid Waste and Emergency Response, sent by EPA Administrator Carol Browner who instructed SVCRC to once again apply for the TAG. In 1999 Region Ten granted the non-profit organization the grant, two of the most knowledgeable technical advisors were hired. 

In a short time span it was learned that EPA had negotiated with the mining companies for a lesser quality cleanup when the site was first designated in 1983. As a result the pollution was spreading into a far larger geographical size into the Coeur d'Alene river and Lake into Washington State. Thousands of more lives were now being exposed to lead, the tourism industry who were deep into the development of the gondola ski lift in Kellogg, Wallace area and Duane Hagadone owner of Hagadone Hospitality as well as the mining interests felt they had to find a way to stop EPA and the cleanup over all.  

The Shoshone Natural Resource Coalition a body of mining, tourism, political interests were formed in 2000. When EPA announced the additional 1500 sq. miles of pollution would be added onto the original 21 sq. mile "box" SNRC went public in the local Kellogg newspaper owned by Duane Hagadone saying they were going to find a way to stop the cleanup overall. The Idaho political delegation called upon the National Academy of Sciences to undertake this task. SVCRC found out early on and did everything in its capacity to convince NAS to not conduct another very expensive study of the site, ($850,000 was taken from funding targeted for the cleanup to do the study). Our pleas were ignored, NAS went ahead and in July of this year ruled on the two year investigation.

Basically the plan to stop the cleanup backfired and for the first time in more than a century a governmental agency ruled on behalf of the citizens. The end result was not without once again rallying those who have lived with the pollution, the fear, intimidation, suppression, threats and oppression as well as serious health problems because of the being lead poisoned not to mention the adverse health problems related to arsenic and other heavy metal waste mentioned in the NAS report. To date no health agency has come forward to offer any funding or other support for the Community Lead Health Clinic that is a design put together by leading lead experts such as Dr. John Rosen, Bruce Lanphear, Needleman,  physicians from Washington State, SVCRC as well as affected citizens.   For a summary of the NAS one of the most prestigious bodies of scientists in the United States please see below.   

NAS Summary:

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