The Polluters: A Community Strikes Back

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9780938577072: The Polluters: A Community Strikes Back
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Recounts the experience of Varlamoff and her community in stopping the expansion of a local landfill, offering insight into how citizens can confront this type of environmental issue

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About the Author:

Susan Jezsik Varlamoff was born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Cresskill, New Jersey. She holds a B.A. in Biology, and Masters degree in Environmental Pollution Control from Penn State University. After several years as a research assistant in Oceanography at Columbia University, she married Ivan Varlamoff. The Varlamoff family eventually settled in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, where the expansion of a toxic landfill threatened their community.

Review:

If you like political intrigue, power con-frontation, and sensitive human interac-tion, The Polluters will draw you from one episode to the next with little thought of putting it down until you have finished the whole story. It is a how-to manual for community organizing and perseverance. If you are searching for an inspiring story of participatory democracy vividly por-trayed in the daily lives of individuals and families pulling together to withstand the might of a $3 million garbage company, this is it.

Told in a personal autobiographical style, The Polluters portrays the prolonged but never dull case study a neighborhood and its preoccupation with the daily reality of environmental pollution. This story begins in 1982 when Varlamoff, her engi-neer husband and their three children moved into a new subdivision and learned that it was built next to the Flying Cloud Sanitary Landfill, a subsidiary of BFI, and that plans existed for a sizable expansion.

The Polluters serves as an outstanding example of the axiom that a small group of determined people, disciplined to great ends, and willing to persevere, can accom-plish seemingly impossible goals. -- Environmental, Health & Social Alternatives

In 1982, Varlamoff had just moved with her engineer husband into a new subdivision in Eden Prairie, Minnesota (a suburb of Minneapolis), when they learned that their area abutted the Flying Cloud Sanitary Landfill and that the dump's operator, a subsidiary of giant Browning Ferris Industries (BFI), wanted approval for a substantial expansion. Over the next eight-plus years, residents studied landfill issues, organized neighbors, leafleted and demonstrated, demanded environmental impact statements, and aggressively lobbied bureaucrats and politicians at the local, state and federal levels. The author, whose younger sister had died years before of childhood leukemia in a dump-heavy area of New Jersey, became an organizer and spokesperson for anti-landfill forces, remaining involved in the in the Minnesota wrestling match even after her family had moved to Pennsylvania. Finally, in 1990, BFI withdrew its expansion request and shut down the Flying Cloud dump, taking a $36.5 million charge against earnings. In addition to obvious regional appeal, The Polluters could serve as an instructive how-to manual for residents of communities confronting similar environmental hazards. -- Booklist, September 1, 1993

This book, by an environmental activist, describes how people fought against a leaking toxic dump threatening their neighborhood. The book detailed plans of one community's fight and success. -- Indiana University, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Bloomington, IN

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