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Letter to the Editor: Lead Pollution, a Moral Issue


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The Bunker Hill Mining Company in Kellogg, Idaho went bankrupt in 1981 creating our nation’s largest superfund (cleanup) site.  The mine continues to pollute at the site of the mine and downstream from Kellogg to Spokane. Lead leaches into the Spokane River from the mine and repositories like the one at the Cataldo Mission. The EPA’s move toward loosening the cleanup requirements will only increase the danger by allowing mining corporations to pollute at higher levels.

This environmental issue is a moral issue. The EPA’s tolerance for pollution disproportionately affects the poor and minority populations. 

All citizens must become moral voices for the health of our Spokane River, our region, and our people. Speak up by:

1)  Demanding that the EPA shut down the Cataldo Mission toxic soil dump and build permanent leach-free sites.

2)  Requiring part of the EPA cleanup funding be dedicated to lead health initiatives such as “Children Run Better Unleaded (CRBU).” 

3) Attending the Dec. 29, CBRU planning meeting at Silver Valley Resource Center, 204 Oregon, Kellogg, Idaho.

4)  Becoming informed regarding other toxic sites such as Midnite Mine (uranium) and the proposed Newport Smelter.

Faith Leaders and Leaders of Conscience cannot ignore this moral issue. 

Rev. Gen Heywood, Convener

Barbara Miller, Director of Silver Valley Resource Center

Gen Heywood
Gen Heywood
Rev. Gen Heywood has been active in parish ministry for more than 30 years. From small towns to big cities, she always lets the needs of the community and the congregation be her guide. Gen credits the supportive leadership of Veradale United Church of Christ for including her work to overcome racism, poverty, the war economy and ecological devastation as part of her ministry. “Veradale UCC is a small church with a powerful faith. They are the reason I can be a witness for a world where we do justice, live with compassion and walk humbly with the Divine.” Gen grew up in rural Maine. She received a B.A. in Music Therapy and German from Emmanuel College in Boston, Massachusetts, and her M.Div. from Andover Newton Theological School in Newton, Massachusetts. She is a lifelong learner who lives in Spokane Valley, Washington, with her three dogs, as well as, sometimes, with her amazing young adult children.

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