Media Releases

EPA Administrator Meets with Just Moms STL, Says She Will Investigate Relocation Option

EPA Administrator Meets with Just Moms STL, Says She Will Investigate Relocation Option
March 30, 2016
Immediate Release
Karen Nickel 314- 229-4896
Dawn Chapman 314-566-9762
Karen Nickel and Dawn Chapman, Co-Founders of Just Moms STL met with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy this afternoon to discuss relocation of the families who live near the burning Bridgeton Superfund site.
Both women explained the dire and urgent need for families to have the option to leave the area with their homes purchased. They stated that the fire is closer than anticipated and is frightening local families.  They are concerned about what will happen if the fire reaches the Manhattan Project radioactive wastes. St. Louis county officials are preparing to assist residents and schools to shelter in place in the event of a nuclear plume.  Local schools have sent letters to parents, asking them to provide extra doses of medication that students need on a daily basis.
The spokespeople for Just Moms STL explained that under the Superfund Authority Administrator McCarthy has the authority to move families immediately. Just Moms pleaded with her to begin by moving Spanish Village closest to the site, the mobile home park and then downwind.

“Administrator McCarthy said she is going to see how the EPA might be able to relocate people near the smoldering and radioactive landfill,” said Karen Nickel, co-founder of Just Moms STL. “We hope that Administrator McCarthy will move people immediately.”
 The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a new report on the extent of radioactive wastes at the smoldering West Lake Landfill in St. Louis County. The report shows the newly discovered radioactivity is closer to the ongoing smoldering fire than previously known. The EPA has so far refused, for over one year, requests by local residents to test the entire North Quarry as a grid for radioactivity.
Attorney General Koster has publicly supported the federal, bipartisan legislation that will put the Army Corps of Engineers’ specialized nuclear waste cleanup program in charge at the West Lake Landfill. The Corps’ Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP) is currently in charge of all the ongoing radioactive cleanup sites in the metro St. Louis area.
Karen Nickel and Dawn Chapman of Just Moms also had a meeting with the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), which advises President Obama on environmental policy and helps steer his environmental priorities.  Nickel and Chapman pressed on the need for immediate action.

Lois Gibbs of the Center for Health Environment and Justice, Ed Smith of Missouri Coalition on the Environment and Chuck Stiles, the Assistant Director of the Teamsters Union Solid Waste & Recycling Division were also in the CEQ meeting. Along with supporting the need to relocate families exposed to toxins, Mr. Stiles raise labor aspects to this crisis that are yet unaddressed.

Media Releases

Worried Moms from Flint and St. Louis To Blast EPA



Lois Gibbs 703-627-9483,,

New Internal EPA Memo & Policy Stresses Public Health

Worried Moms from Flint, Love Canal & St. Louis Decry Agency’s “Failure”

“Kids are suffering from leaded water & threatened by toxic fires”

WHAT:           Press conference featuring Missouri and Michigan moms

WHEN:          Tuesday, February 9, 2016 at 10 a.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST)

LOCATION:  National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor, Washington, DC 20045 and by phone:  Dial In:   641-715-3580  PIN:  808-997

WHO: Dawn Chapman, co-founder, Just Moms STL, Karen Nickel, co-founder, Just Moms STL, Melissa Mays, Water You Fight For (by phone from Flint, MI), Lois Gibbs, Founder, Center for Health, Environment and Justice, Ed Smith, Missouri Coalition for the Environment, Gail Thackery, Franciscan Sisters of Mary

Details:  A coalition of moms from Michigan and Missouri will hold a press conference to address EPA’s failure to act on what they say are serious threats to public health in both communities.
Flint, Michigan is reeling from ongoing lead and toxic chemicals in its drinking water. EPA senior managers reacted to alarms sounded by its own staff by downplaying the risks and hiding the warnings about the lead levels from the public, according to local activists.
In Bridgeton, Missouri (a suburb of St. Louis), families live near a radioactive Superfund landfill with an underground fire that is threatening to move toward the illegally dumped nuclear wastes from the Manhattan Project. The nuclear wastes are adjacent to an underground fire at a neighboring landfill. The Bridgeton/West Lake landfill site is owned by the Republic Services waste corporation, and activists say that workers there have no protection from either the radioactive wastes or the toxic emissions emitted by the landfill and chronic long term exposure is unknown.
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy has refused for over two years to meet with the Just Moms St. Louis community group.  She has released a new formal policy on “substantial health risks”.
At the press conference, leaders from both the Just Moms St. Louis and the Flint-based Water You Fighting For community groups will discuss the environmental and public health catastrophes in both communities, and EPA’s responses to date. They will also ask EPA Administrator McCarthy to meet with the Just Moms St. Louis members who traveled here to request that the EPA act on its authority under the Superfund Act to move families away from the landfill, as the agency has done previously with Love Canal and other communities.

Media Releases

“Just Moms STL” activist group visits state offices, demand action on West Lake

“Just Moms STL” activist group visits state offices, demand action on West Lake
“Be Superhero for Superfund” Local Group will urge Congressional Reps 
Will give cupcakes, toot birthday horns to celebrate 35th anniversary of Superfund on Dec 11th
WHAT: The St. Louis based activist group “Just Moms STL” will give cupcakes Congressman Clay, Congresswoman Wagner, Senator Blunt, and Senator McCaskill wearing birthday hats and tooting birthday horns.  They will also thank the representatives for the work they have done on the West Lake Landfill, including the recent introduction of a bi-partisan bill to move West Lake from EPA to Army Corp of Engineers.  They will urge the reinstatement of the “Polluter Pays” Fee and the passage of the West Lake bill.
WHEN: Wednesday, December 9, 2015, 10 AM – 12 PM
1) 10:00 am Office of Representative Wagner301 Sovereign Court, Suite 201, Ballwin, MO
2) 10:30 am Office of Senator Roy Blunt—7700 Bonhomme, #315 Clayton, MO
3) 11:00 am Office of Senator Claire McCaskill—5850 Delmar Blvd, Ste. A St. Louis, MO
4) 11:45 am Office of Congressman William “Lacy” Clay— 6830 Gravois St. Louis, MO
Details:  The theme of the action is Superheroes with the tagline “Make Superfund Super Again!” The action will celebrate the 35th birthday of the Superfund Law on Friday Dec. 11th.

Media Releases

New Study Shows EPA Mismanaging Toxic Clean-Up

It Also Shows More Sites are ID’d but Funding is Stagnant
Fewer Clean-Ups are Being Started and Each One Takes Longer
Groups say “Polluter Pay” Fee Must be Reinstated & Increased
Love Canal Pioneer Says Some Sites are Still Waiting for Clean-Up More Than 25 Years Later
URL to embargoed study: This page is password protected. The password is: access2015   Study Embargoed Until:  Wed, Dec. 9, 2015 at 12:01am
WHAT:  On a call-in news conference, a veteran activist known as the “Mother of the Superfund” will present a new study documenting failures of the once-highly-touted program and recommending substantial reforms including the re-establishment of “Polluter Pay” fee.
Speakers on the call include: Leading the call is Lois Gibbs, the pioneer who won the historic clean-up of Love Canal and founded the Center for Health, Environment and Justice. Also involved are Stephen Lester of CHEJ and Dawn Chapman of Just Moms STL (and the leader of the pending campaign to block an underground fire near a toxic waste dump in Missouri).
Gibbs will also discuss nation-wide Superfund action/protests in 29 cities planned for Wed 12/9.
ALSO TODAY:  7:00 Tuesday 12/8 U.N. Style Human rights tribunal with 5 jurists, including Lois Gibbs and public testimony from 35 participants including Missouri Coalition for the Environment, Just Moms STL and MO Jobs with Justice on health, economic, environmental effects of West Lake Landfill,  Graphic Arts Banquet Hall, 105 Progress Parkway 63043.
WHEN:            Tuesday, December 8, 2015 at 1:00 pm (EST), 12:00 pm (CST)
To Call In:       641-715-3580  808-997
DETAILS:      The 35th anniversary of Superfund is Friday, Dec. 11th
CHEJ says that EPA head Gina McCarthy is slowing down sorely-needed clean-ups and has gutted any citizen appeals.
CHEJ mentors the movement to build healthier communities by empowering people to prevent harm in as many ways, and for as many people, as possible. We believe this can happen when people and groups have the power to play an integral role in promoting human health and environmental integrity. Visit our website:

Media Releases

Groups Threaten To Sue EPA Over Dangerous Fracking Waste Disposal


Groups File Notice of Intent to Sue EPA Over Dangerous Drilling and Fracking Waste

Call on Agency to Issue Rules for Handling and Disposal of Oil and Gas Waste

WASHINGTON, D.C.  (August 26, 2015) – A coalition of environmental organizations filed a legal notice with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today demanding regulations to stop oil and gas companies from dumping drilling and fracking waste in ways that threaten public health and the environment.

The groups filing today’s notice letter are the Environmental Integrity Project, Natural Resources Defense Council, Earthworks, Responsible Drilling Alliance, San Juan Citizens Alliance, West Virginia Surface Owners Rights Organization, and the Center for Health, Environment and Justice. The groups are calling on EPA to comply with its long-overdue obligations to update waste disposal rules that should have been revised more than a quarter century ago.

“We’re asking that EPA finally do what it found to be necessary back in 1988:  update the regulations for oil and gas wastes,” said Adam Kron, attorney at the Environmental Integrity Project.  “The oil and gas industry has grown rapidly since then, and yet EPA has repeatedly shirked its duties for nearly three decades.  The public deserves better protection than this.”

For example, EPA should institute stricter controls for underground injection wells, which accept two billion gallons of oil and gas wastewater every day and have been linked to numerous earthquakes in Ohio, Oklahoma, and Texas. EPA should ban the practice of spreading fracking wastewater onto roads or fields, which allows toxic pollutants to run off and contaminate streams. And EPA should require landfills and ponds that receive drilling and fracking waste to be built with adequate liners and structural integrity to prevent spills and leaks into groundwater and streams.

“Oil and gas waste is extremely dangerous—yet the EPA admitted decades ago that federal rules are inadequate protect the public,” said Matthew McFeeley, attorney at NRDC.  “The scary truth is that right now this waste—complete with carcinogens and radioactive material—is being dumped irresponsibly or disposed of like everyday household garbage. Toxic waste should not be sent to run-of-the-mill landfills, sprayed on our roads and fields, or stored in open air pits.”

The groups notified EPA that they will file a lawsuit in 60 days unless the agency complies with its duty under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) to review and revise the federal regulations governing how oil and gas waste must be handled and disposed.  RCRA requires that EPA review the regulations at least every three years and, if necessary, revise them.  The agency determined that such revisions of the regulations were necessary to address specific concerns with oil and gas wastes more than 25 years ago, yet has failed to meet its legal responsibility to act.

Over the last decade, the oil and gas industry’s fracking-based boom has produced a vast amount of solid and liquid waste. Each well produces millions of gallons of wastewater and hundreds of tons of drill cuttings, which contain contaminants that pose serious risks to human health. These include known carcinogens such as benzene, toxic metals such as mercury, and radioactive materials. However, the current RCRA rules that govern oil and gas wastes are too weak because they are the same rules that apply to all “non-hazardous” wastes, including household trash.

As a result, oil and gas companies are handling, storing, and disposing of these wastes in a number of troublesome ways. These include: spraying fracking waste fluids onto roads and land near where people live and work; disposing of billions of gallons of oil and gas wastewater in underground injection wells; sending the drill cuttings and fracking sands to landfills not designed to handle toxic or radioactive materials; and storing and disposing of wastewater in pits and ponds, which often leak.  Across the U.S., there are numerous instances of wastes leaking out of ponds and pits into nearby streams and the groundwater beneath, and operators often “close” the pits by simply burying the wastes on site.

Aaron Mintzes, Policy Advocate for Earthworks, said: “While it’s sadly common for states to fail to enforce their own oil and gas oversight laws, it is especially shameful that we should have to sue the Environmental Protection Agency, the only federal agency solely dedicated to protecting the environment and human health, to force EPA to fulfill its legal obligations to protect us from fracking pollution.”

The following are some examples of problems caused by the improper disposal and handling of fracking and drilling waste:

  • Ohio: Underground injection wells in Ohio accepted 22 million barrels of oil and gas wastewater for disposal in 2014, nearly four times the amount in 2009.  This has resulted in scores of earthquakes in the well-dense Youngstown area, with one well alone linked to 77 earthquakes.  The Ohio Oil and Gas Commission recently noted that regulations “have not kept pace” with the problem, and that (to an extent) both the state and industry are “working with their eyes closed.”
  • Pennsylvania: In May 2012, a six-million-gallon industrial pond holding fracking wastewater in Tioga County leaked pollutants, including arsenic and strontium, through holes in its liner into groundwater and a nearby trout stream.
  • West Virginia: Oil and gas wastewater dumped or spilled in rivers in West Virginia and Pennsylvania contains high levels of potentially hazardous ammonium and iodide, according to a study by Duke University scientists.
  • North Dakota: In January 2015, three million gallons of drilling wastewater spilled from a leaky pipe outside Williston, polluting a tributary of the Missouri River.  In July 2011, a pipeline serving a well in Bottineau County leaked over two million gallons of fracking wastewater, damaging twenty-four acres of private land.
  • Colorado: A contractor for a pipeline services firm gave a detailed account of sand-blasting pulverized waste buildup (called “scale”) from pipeline seals directly into the air outdoors without a filter, even though such dust can be radioactive and cause damage to lungs.
  • Across the Marcellus region: Over the past several years, landfills in states around the Marcellus shale formation—even in New York, where fracking is prohibited—have experienced increasing shipments of drill cuttings that contain high levels of radiation.  Many of the landfills do not test for radiation and do not have adequate controls to prevent the often toxic and radioactive “leachate” from seeping into groundwater.

EPA’s current regulations do not take into account the dangerous contents of oil and gas wastes or their unique handling and disposal practices.  Since 1988, the agency has acknowledged the shortcoming of its basic rules for solid waste management and has indicated that it needs to create enhanced rules tailored to the oil and gas industry. However, the agency has yet to take any action to develop these updated regulations.

“Improper handling of drilling waste threatens the health and safety of 3.5 million Pennsylvania residents whose drinking water comes from private wells,” said Barbara Jarmoska, who serves on the Board of Directors of the Responsible Drilling Alliance, a nonprofit advocacy group based in Lycoming County, Pa.  “It is past time for the EPA to put public and environmental health and safety first. EPA should revise existing regulations and specifically address issues relevant to the modern oil and gas industry.”

If EPA does not act within 60 days of today’s notice letter, the groups intend to ask a federal court to set strict deadlines for EPA to complete this long-needed update and strengthening of its regulations for oil and gas wastes.

“These are not your mom and pop wells of the 1980s, and their waste can no longer be ignored and listed as being non-hazardous,” said Teresa Mills, director of the Ohio field office for the Center for Health, Environment, and Justice.  “For the agency to continue to classify millions of gallons/tons of hazardous material as non-toxic is mind-boggling.  The free ride for the oil and gas industry must come to an end, now.”


Environmental Integrity Project: Tom Pelton, 202-888-2703 or

Natural Resources Defense Council: Kate Kiely, 212-727-4592 or

Earthworks: Alan Septoff, 202-887-1872 ×105 or


The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

The Environmental Integrity Project, based in Washington, D.C., is dedicated to advocating for more effective enforcement of environmental laws across the U.S.   The organization provides objective analyses of how the failure to implement laws increases pollution, and it holds governments and corporations accountable to protect public health. Learn more at and follow us on Twitter @EIPOnline.

Earthworks is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting communities and the environment from the adverse impacts of mineral and energy development while promoting sustainable solutions. Earthworks stands for clean air, water and land, healthy communities, and corporate accountability. Website:

The Responsible Drilling Alliance is a registered 501(c)(3) education and advocacy coalition, based in Pennsylvania that seeks to educate members and the public about deep shale gas drilling and all of its ramifications. The alliance advocates for federal, state and local regulations needed to protect our economy, environment, health, safety and quality of life. Website:

The West Virginia Surface Owners’ Rights Organization is a statewide membership organization representing over 900 members, almost all of who live or own land in the state’s oil and gas producing counties. One of the organizations primary purposes is to educate its members and the public regarding surface owners’ rights and the environmental and other impacts associated with oil and gas exploration and production. Website:

The San Juan Citizens Alliance is a Colorado-based grassroots organization dedicated to social, economic and environmental justice.  The alliance organizes San Juan Basin residents to protect the basin’s water and air, public lands, rural character, and unique quality of life while embracing the diversity of the region’s people, economy, and ecology. Website:

The Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ) mentors a movement, empowering people to prevent harm to human health caused by exposure to environmental threats. Through training, coalition building and one-on-one technical and organizing assistance, CHEJ works to level the playing field so that people can have a say in the environmental policies and decisions that affect their health and well-being. Website:


Media Releases

Veteran St. Louis Activist Threatens to Sue EPA

Veteran St. Louis Activist Threatens to Sue EPA 
Our group and others are filing a legal notice with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today demanding immediate action to stop oil and gas companies from dumping drilling and fracking waste in ways that threaten public health and the environment. We’ll like file a federal lawsuit in 60 days.
Statement of Laura Barrett of St. Louis, Executive Director, Center for Health, Environment and Justice
“Our group, CHEJ, and others are filing a legal notice today with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency demanding immediate action to stop oil and gas companies from dumping drilling and fracking waste in ways that threaten public health and the environment. We’ll likely file a federal lawsuit in 60 days.
The oil and gas industry is growing by leaps and bounds.  EPA must do its job and update and enforce these vital regulations. Our water and air are threatened by toxic waste from the improper storage of fracking wastes while corporate polluters are allowed to run wild. Homes, small businesses, and low income and indigenous communities are being laid to waste by an industry that is virtually unregulated.”
More information is available here.

Media Releases

25 Organizations Petition EPA Fracking Waste Disposal Program


For Immediate Release:  April 29, 2015

For additional information, contact Teresa Mills, Center for Health, Environment and Justice at:





75% of Ohio’s Disposal Wells for Fracking Waste are in Low-Income Appalachian

Areas That Receive “Comically Inadequate” Public Participation Opportunities and No Meaningful Enforcement

COLUMBUS:  A large coalition of Ohio environmental and community groups sent a detailed, fifteen page demand to U.S. EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice today documenting that Ohio’s program for approving “injection” wells that dispose of highly contaminated wastewater from oil and natural gas “fracking wells” has an overwhelmingly disparate impact on low-income Ohioans in violation of a federal directive requiring that such impacts be identified and given specific safeguards.  74.9% of the 237 active injection wells in Ohio are concentrated in the state’s 32 officially recognized “Appalachian” counties due to their low-income status where just 17.4% of all Ohioans live.  Injection wells disposed of over 1 billion, 46 million gallons of highly toxic fracking wastes in 2014 deep underground where it is supposed to be isolated from drinking water – but the serious problems in the program detailed in the letter place the injection well program’s claims to safety into deep doubt.

The groups charge that Ohio’s injection well regulator, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (“ODNR”), is a “captive regulator” controlled by Ohio’s politically potent oil and gas industry and has neither the effective public input nor reliable enforcement programs that states with disparate impacts on low-income communities are required to have under a 1994 Executive Order signed by Bill Clinton addressing “Environmental Justice.”  The groups document that the Ohio program has not been updated since it was established in 1983 and has not been changed to address either the rapid growth in waste volume since fracking became common or the requirements of the 1994 Environmental Justice Order despite the obvious disparate impact.

The Environmental Justice Executive Order is enforced by U.S. EPA’s Washington DC-based Office of Environmental Justice where the demand letter was sent.  The injection well program is the only component of oil and gas production where federal oversight exists through the U.S. EPA.  The Executive Order requires that all federal agencies address “disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects” of federal programs “on minority and low-income populations in the United States” through insuring 1) full access to relevant information, 2) meaningful opportunities for public participation in the permitting process, and 3) effective enforcement.

The groups list evidence that ODNR fails badly in all three areas.  It calls ODNR’s current public participation policies established in 1983 “comical but for the profound injustice they cause” due to eight separate defects including that the Department provides only fifteen days to comment on these complicated deep well proposals, routinely refuses to hold public meetings to discuss the permitting process and respond to public concerns, and even claims that citizens have no right to contest its injection well siting decisions in court.  Citizens making public records requests to ODNR routinely wait over two months for a response.  ODNR’s enforcement program is virtually non-existent with not a single fine collected and only a single example where ODNR authorized the state Attorney General to take an injection well to court.  When ODNR inspects injection wells, many violations are ignored while those cited are seldom followed up on to insure compliance.  The injection well program is severely understaffed with only four dedicated inspectors, most of whose time is spent insuring that the wells receive their permission to operate.

For proof of ODNR’s “regulatory capture,” the groups point to the disclosure in February, 2014, of a “communications plan” prepared by ODNR to promote fracking in state parks that proposed aggressively partnering with the oil and gas industry and its lobbyists to overcome resistance from what the Department scornfully called “eco-left pressure groups” which included many of the nation’s most respected environmental groups and even two state legislators.

“With ODNR, it’s everything for the oil and gas industry and nothing for the public. They act just as biased toward the industry as their own secret communications plan revealed them to be,” says Teresa Mills of Citizens for Health, Environmental and Justice who coordinated the letter’s release.  “They treat Appalachian Ohio as the fracking industry’s dumping ground whose people are too poor to resist taking the lion’s share of Ohio’s waste and that from surrounding states.”

The groups also take U.S. EPA to task for its inadequate oversight role over ODNR.  The last oversight report in 2009 was virtually a cut and paste of the previous 2005 report with no mention of ODNR’s severe staff deficiencies or lack of enforcement.  The groups also believe U.S. EPA is just as apathetic toward the public as ODNR citing a 2013 episode where, after ODNR refused to hold public meetings, Ohio’s citizens groups held their own to take testimony; the results were sent to U.S. EPA – who never responded.

The groups have asked U.S. EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice to conduct an investigation of both ODNR’s and U.S. EPA’s injection well programs to determine how they should be reformed to satisfy the 1994 Executive Order and to order that the necessary reforms be implemented to insure that the concerns and health of Appalachian Ohioans are taken into account in the injection well program.  “The industry has effectively blocked all reform in Ohio and in Washington DC,” concluded Ms. Mills.  “This petition is about the only step left to instill some basic fairness into this miserably corrupt system.”

See attached letter.Tejada 4-27-15

Media Releases

Board of Directors Announce Lois Gibbs Shifting Energy To Field

The Board of Directors of the Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ) is pleased to s, our founder and Executive Director, has accepted the opportunity to shift the focus of her work to our newly created Leadership Training Academy program.

To maintain our momentum in supporting community-based environmental health and justice work, we have begun the formal search for the next grassroots leader with excellent training and management skills and a vision of powerful action – our successor Executive Director. To support the Board in the search process, CHEJ has engaged Democracy Partners. Our process of outreach and selection begins very soon. Questions or suggestions should be directed to Cheri Whiteman by e-mail at

Lois Gibbs will shift her full-time attention away from her current day-to-day administrative responsibilities with the engagement of our next Executive Director, which is expected to occur this summer. “I’m excited to spend more time in the field to build the advocacy base for change!” said Lois, “and it’s a great opportunity for one of the emerging community leaders out there to take CHEJ to the next level!”

CHEJ has launched the Leadership Training Academy program to strengthen and sustain the infrastructure of fledgling environmental health and justice organizations in the United States.

CHEJ recently completed a strategic review and refocus of our work. We were aided as a Board in this process by a group of allies and advisors, and our retreat was facilitated by Jim Abernathy. In examining our work, the following important findings led CHEJ’s Board to take those steps to reshape the organization to meet the increasing demand from the field for Leadership Training Academy program services:

• There are more local, state and regional groups emerging than in the past. This is due primarily to energy-related proposals and activities such as pipelines, extraction wells, export terminals and associated waste disposal.

• Established groups are growing and looking for advice on long-term organizing, establishing collaborative efforts, Board development and establishing a three-year strategic organizational plan.

Lois describes the Academy program this way: “The Leadership Training Academy is a training center ‘without walls.’ It provides a distinctive brand of leadership skills-building training and mentoring of local group leaders around the country to build the base of the environmental health and justice movement. This program is based on a proven, time-tested methodological framework that is grounded in CHEJ’s 34 years of grassroots leadership and coaching experience, campaign strategy knowledge and the tactics of successful grassroots victories. A special focus of the training activities is with thousands of women leading grassroots groups on a range of environmental health and economic justice issues. People of color, young people and women together comprise what many call the ‘emerging American electorate,’ and it is they who will both determine environmental and economic policy, and live with the consequences of the decisions.”

I personally am excited to “free Lois” to spend more of her energy in the field, and the Board of Directors looks forward to working with new leadership. We’ve always known that success comes when we learn from the past and step boldly into the future. With a new CHEJ Executive Director and our legendary friend and teacher, Lois Gibbs, we will have the best of both worlds!

Thank you,

Peter B. Sessa
CHEJ Board Chair