Environmentalist who paved way for EPA changes arrives in Minden - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Environmentalist who paved way for EPA changes arrives in Minden


MINDEN, W.Va. She's the environmentalist whose work exposing a chemical leak in Love Canal, New York changed the way the Environmental Protection Agency responded to communities wrecked by toxic dump sites. But now, she is taking her fight to Fayette County, where some say another environmental crisis is unfolding in Minden. 

"I've heard on story after another about cancer, asthma, various disease that are not here and there....they're everywhere," said Gibbs as she arrived in Minden on Friday. 

A young mother at the time, Gibbs pushed the federal government in the 70s to evacuate her community. Her work paved the way for the creation of the EPA Superfund, used to locate and cleanup toxic waste sites. Minden is another Superfund site, where recent testing by the EPA shows past cleanups of the chemical PCB may not have been enough. 

Minden resident Darrell Sharp believes a recent flood may have un-earthed some of the environmental agency's work. 

"My property personally tested 450 parts per billion of PCB. I've got a two-year-old baby and a nine-year-old girl that's got to play in this. I'm afraid to even let them out the door," he said of testing that was done by the EPA in June. 

Sie Worley-Jenkins lost her mother, father, and husband to cancer. The Minden resident said she too has battled cancer five times. So far, she is disappointed by the state and federal response. 

"I hope they never have a loved one battle cancer or themselves, because only then will they know what we're going through." 

Residents who could not turn out to the afternoon meeting had another opportunity to meet with Gibbs at the Minden Community Center on Friday night. Residents said the goal of meeting with the environmentalist is to develop a strategy moving forward. 

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