About

the-brooks-hotel.jpg

Entrance to the Brooks Hotel, in Wallace, Idaho — where SNRC and SNRC Science Committee meetings were usually held (PHOTO CREDIT:  Tripadviosor.com)

The Shoshone Natural Resources Coalition (SNRC) was a citizens group in Shoshone County, Idaho focused on natural resources and environmental issues.  In late 2000 or early 2001, SNRC’s membership determined that a science subcommittee was needed.  This subcommittee – which soon became known simply as the “SNRC Science Committee” – was tasked with inquiring into the EPA science ostensibly justifying and calling for a massive and unexpected change in a local Superfund site.  The Kellogg area’s pre-existing 21-square-mile Superfund site (known locally as “The Box”) needed, said EPA, to be expanded to encompass the entire Coeur d’Alene River basin, covering an estimated 1,500 square miles.  The Science Committee’s inquiry soon resulted in a number of critical findings, which in turn occasioned a number of meetings, conferences, and publications, over a period running roughly from 2001 to 2005.  So concerned was the Committee with the weaknesses in EPA’s environmental and human health science that a sustained search was set in motion very early on for a neutral scientific review panel.  After one or two reviewing possibilities proved unfeasible, the U.S. Congress came to the rescue and directed the National Academies of Science to impanel a study group to investigate the scientific situation.  Their report, published in 2005, effectively marked the endpoint of the Science Committee’s work and involvement in this remarkable episode and history.  This blog is intended as a repository for some of the documents and story relating to this memorable patch of Silver Valley history.  It is hoped that the blog will serve three chief purposes:  (1) as an archive of the Science Committee’s work, (2) as an historical recounting, and (3) as a potential resource for other U.S. communities that find themselves in EPA’s crosshairs one day or another.

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