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Women recognized for clean-up advocacy


Barbara Miller

At Winter Waters, John Osborn of the Sierra Club Group presented a Water Warrior Award for persistent work to Barbara Miller, who grew up at Cataldo Mission and saw tundra swans dying as they migrated through wetlands near Harrison, Idaho.  She and others learned the swans were dying because of the toxic materials—particularly the neurotoxin lead—in the water. The swans died after they ate contaminated plants and fish.

She helped start and is director of the Silver Valley Community Resource Center, which advocates for cleanup of the Silver Valley from the metals.

Barbara draws people together to protect children and the community.  She and John Roskelley, Spokane mountain Climber, met with Bishop Skylstad in 2001 and formed the Children Run Better Unleaded campaign to monitor the pollution legacy from mining. 

Barbara said there is considerable public health work ahead, so she thinks about advocacy every day.  She is the “Water Warrior” for 2017.

Rachael Osborn said the other Water Warrior is Julie Delsaso, recognized for her efforts to protect Blackwell Island where Coeur d’Alene Lake enters the Spokane River, an area with high concentrations of mining and smelting wastes. Plans for a development there will involve dredging which will re-suspend the wastes in the water and Spokane River.

She has been building citizen oversight to give the community voice in EPA decisions about cleanup of the 1,500-square-mile Superfund site.  She also worked with the grassroots Friends of the Aquifer based in Rathdrum Prairie to stop BNSF when it began building its fuel depot over the aquifer.

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