I began my work on the Pigeon River in 1998. Belinda West, Joan Robinette and I got the Dead Pigeon River clean by half. I was on television at the time and the then, PrmeTime Live news television show, due to my success in Hollywood, came to Newport, TN to address the Dead Pigeon. This was the hard work of 3 women that changed the course of that river. The cancer rate on Douglas Lake caused all the wells to be closed. At that time, the World Health Organization considered Dioxin a possible carcinogen. It has been my experience that if a chemical is under consideration as a carcinogen, it will soon prove to be.
I also went to a shareholder meeting for Champion International and spoke with the heads of that corporation. Champion had poisoned the Pigeon for decades. It ran black with foam. It stank. I bought stock in the company thus was able to attend a shareholder meeting and meet with leaders of that company. The then CEO was, Andrew Siegler. He maintained that I would see things their way. That never happened! And we got major reforms on the Pigeon River.
Many organizations claimed this victory, but it was Joan, Belinda and myself that brought press to the issue and made that historic change. I am very proud of our work. I have continued my work on The Nolichucky and have been a part of real change as another “wall of women” put pressure on the NRC, EPA, and TDEC. We were able to get some measurable reform from Nuclear Fuel Services. It took us a decade. But we made great inroads.
I continue now, to be very involved with the US Nitrogen situation, which has brought bad air, and illness. I have contacted the ATSDR as well as the Nashville Health Dept. All the animals died along Pond Creek and people have blisters on their skin and at least one has been hospitalized. The paperwork that I have followed shows a pattern of criminal behavior and I continue to fight for the people of the Midway area and do not intend to give up. 7 agencies so far, have refused to do their due diligence. This will not stand.