We have a chance to see the science, see the results, question the techniques and the reasoning that went into the decisions that are made to make our environment cleaner and safer. Some years we have big crowds of people, some years lots of people, but scant local faces. We want to change that. It is your face in the face of regulators that will make this cleanup as good as it can be. It is your questions that make federal, state and tribal officials re-examine the methods and even the practices that actually may not be practical.
For many of the people who come, it is some sort of reunion, they have been working on this site for decades, and you don't know them. Let's change that. Come early Tuesday morning Sept. 17, walk right up and pick up your packet and walk into the Ballroom at NEO in the Student Union, choose a seat where you can see THEIR faces, follow the speakers after their presentations and meet them and ask the question you wished you had asked aloud. We will save you a seat.
The conference is free to Ottawa County residents, Activists and students. It helps us get you in the door quicker if you will register and you can do that at www.leadagency.org. You can bring a sack lunch or buy a ticket to eat in the college cafeteria at lunch, which is another great time to meet the regulators and deciders who are charged with cleaning up our mess. You will also have easy access to other scientists doing research here, for US, as they learn what happens to our water, how our birds are faring if they live in chat piles, and what happens to those birds when their homes are remediated and what kind of birds like a clean environment.
If you have planted those pollinators and have been watching them all summer out your window, and are seeing the butterflies loving them, then you will LOVE hearing Jane Breckinridge from the Euchee Butterfly Farm. If you have some questions on how much water all these HUGE poultry houses might be consuming you will definitely want to hear about the study two agencies are doing on the Roubidoux and the Boone aquifers. I will be taking notes on that.
We all have been waiting all summer to find out how the cleanup on the asbestos at BF Goodrich has been going and Mike McAteer with EPA will give an update and welcome questions. DEQ will let us know how the benzene cleanup is going, too.
Sure we have been having these conferences for 21 years, but we have had BAD WATER flowing down Tar Creek for 40 years come fall. That is just too long. A couple of generations have lived in a town that shunned that creek, but it will help us put the PRESSURE on these agency people if we show our LOVE for that little creek of ours and that we want it better.
There will be many speakers coming from all over the country, that is why it is a national conference and with all the topics, that is why it expanded to be environmental rather than specifically only Tar Creek.
Wonder why all this extra money is being spent cleaning up this site? It is because there is lead in that mess and lead can poison children and it poisoned lots of ours. The fellow who made that public, Don Ackerman is coming this year as a keynote speaker. He didn't even know that his little letter revealing that 1/3 of our Indian children were lead poisoned has been the catalyst to bring EPA back in force to find ways to remove it to protect the future generations. He also writes poetry and that is another thing you must get set to do. Write your own environmentally themed poem and enter the Poetry Slam we will have the evening before the conference starts. All of this is open to the public, because folks, it is for you we do this work.
LEAD Agency will be posting the whole agenda soon, but it will be packed, so save the dates on your calendar, register early so you will be able to go right past the long line and get coffee, a Danish and settle in or you can select the sessions of greatest interest and slide in just in time for those.
Some of the most influential individuals in our community have attended these conferences in the past, but many have passed on and you must take their place, take some responsibility and become the informed public that you need to be. We need you to do this.
...the care of the earth is our most ancient and most worthy
and, after all, our most pleasing responsibility. - Wendell Berry
Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim