activists from throughout the United States are gathering this week in
the Louisville area for strategy sessions focused on helping
neighborhoods near industrial plants.
specifically chosen to come to Louisville to support the local
community," said Bryony Schwan, coordinator of the loosely affiliated
Coming Clean Campaign and an organizer of the meeting.
members of the campaign visited Louisville last year, the Rev. Louis
Coleman's Justice Resource Center launched Rubbertown Emergency Action.
The group, also
known as REACT, has been working to organize neighborhoods to encourage
chemical plants to reduce their toxic air emissions.
meetings will largely focus on comparing notes and developing
strategies nationally, Schwan said, but she added that participants
will take time out to support REACT.
About 60 people
from nearly as many groups are expected to attend, said Schwan, who is
also the national campaign director for Women's Voices for the Earth,
based in Montana.
"The eyes of the
nation and to some extent the eyes of the world are on Louisville right
now," said Denny Larson, a San Francisco environmentalist who helps
neighborhood groups establish air monitoring through his group Global
He delivered that message to the Louisville Air Pollution Control District board yesterday.
At 4 p.m. today,
the environmentalists are scheduled to call for a strong local air
toxics control program outside Metro Mayor Jerry Abramson's office
speakers include Lois Gibbs, who in 1978 founded the Love Canal
Homeowners' Association and in 1981 formed the group that would become
the Center for Health and Environmental Justice.
The Love Canal
controversy over a toxic dump in upstate New York prompted the
relocation of 900 families in Niagara Falls, N.Y., and led to the
passage of the federal Superfund toxic cleanup law in 1980.
At 7 p.m. Friday,
Louisiana activist Margie Richard will speak at Quinn Chapel AME
Church, 1901 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd. Richard led a successful effort to
win voluntary relocation of residents from her neighborhood and
emission reductions from industry in Norco, La.
Last month, Richard was awarded a $125,000 Goldman Environmental Prize.
in the strategy sessions are meeting at an undisclosed location in
Clarksville, Ind. The secrecy is needed to make sure their decisions
remain private, Schwan said.
groups include national organizations such as Physicians for Social
Responsibility, Clean Water Action and the National Council of
Churches, as well as smaller groups from communities near industrial