Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Erin Brockovich to Felton: Don't give up!

Anthea Gleeson. Toowoomba Chronicle | 19th August 2009

CHAMPION legal activist Erin Brockovich offers this piece of advice for Felton farmers whose livelihoods are under threat: Don’t give up.

Ms Brockovich was in the Lockyer Valley yesterday to officially open a new legal residential training facility.

The blonde advocate didn’t mince words when talking about big businesses conducting deals that compromise the health and integrity of communities.

“We don’t want our corporate neighbours to pollute our environment, but more often than not that is what happens,” Ms Brockovich said.

“The community needs to turn their anger and passion and heated arguments into a connection.

“They need to work with the industry to find a way not to have (the mine) here.”

Ms Brockovich was immortalised by Julia Roberts in the film, Erin Brockovich.

The film told the story of Hinkley townspeople who were being poisoned by a chemical that leached into their water supply.

Tony Moore, Brisbane Times
August 16, 2009 - 4:24PM

Environmental fighter Erin Brockovich told a host of Brisbane media this morning that government environmental agencies needed extra funding for independent research so they do not have to rely on "industry" research.

Ms Brockovich said she still had no faith in government environmental agencies protection of the public, describing the organisations as underfunded, understaffed and with the potential for bias.

"I would like to have faith in them, but I have to be honest with you and tell you that I don't ," she said.

"I am certainly frustrated with the EPA (Environmental Protection Authority) currently in the United States of America, " she said.

Ms Brockovich said her experience with government agencies suggested "science lags behind the law" and the people affected come a distant third because well-meaning employees could not provide unbiased advice.

"They are understaffed, they are underfunded, and they can often can rely only on the science that industry is giving them because in the absence of having any funding themselves to be able to get out there and have a look at the situation, more often than not their hands are tied," she said.

"So I would like to see our governmental bodies providing more funding and more staff and more scientists to these agencies so we can get a fair assessment of what is happening."

"A fair assessment. You know, science lags behind the law more often that not.

"And with no funding they have to rely on the information that industry scientists have given them.

"And that is not always a fair assessment of what is happening to a population."

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