Fighting for Pollution Cleanup in a Company Town: Leveling the Playing Field: Silver Valley People's Action Coalition (SVPAC)

Barbara Miller and a coalition of local activists address the environmental and health consequence of 100 years of mining in Idaho's Silver Valley. They are up against the physical damage wrought by lead poisoning as well as community members' deep reluctance to speak out against the mining companies that had such a hold on the community. Undaunted, Miller and her colleagues pursue the following goals:

  • Cleanup People's Homes: Since discovering the presence of lead in people's homes as well as is in the environment, the coalition expanded its cleanup demands.
  • Build Public Credibility: Using door-to-door surveys, meeting with civic groups, and disseminating information about the scope of the pollution and its impacts, the coalition maintains the momentum for cleanup.
  • Engage Groups, Including Government Agencies, Outside Of The Region: Once the coalition engaged Washington, going beyond the regional EPA office, it began to see results.
  • Address Public Health Impacts: By establishing a health clinic and research center, the coalition enables community residents to manage the devastating effects of lead poisoning.

The leadership story outlines how Barbara Miller and the coalition remain steadfast in a challenging environmental and public health struggle.