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Interview with Daniel Parshley, September 24, 2013

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:00 - Interview Introduction

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Partial Transcript: This is the Georgia Environmental Oral History Project, number seven, with Daniel Parshley, who is Project Manager with the Glynn Environmental Coalition.

00:00:22 - Personal background

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Partial Transcript: Daniel, you came to the area some years ago.

Segment Synopsis: Parshley talks about his personal history as the son of an aeronautical engineer in Niagra Falls, New York, and his move to Brunswick, GA in 1973. He further discusses his background in commercial fishing, editorial writing, and marine research.

Keywords: Brunswick, GA; Georgia; Glynn Environmental Coalition; marine research

00:01:53 - Founding of the Glynn Environmental Coalition in 1989

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Partial Transcript: And were you one of the founders of the coalition, or were there other founders and you were drawn to their meetings and then you got involved?

Segment Synopsis: Parshley talks about the founding of the Glynn Environmental Coalition by "a group of concerned citizens" in Glynn County and the various early projects of the group. He further discusses the political activism of the group and their effect on the Glynn County community and legislature in the 1990s.

Keywords: Audubon Society; Earth Day; Glynn County School System; Glynn Environmental Coalition; Golden Isles Elementary School; Greenpeace; air quality; beach renourishment; coastal wetlands; environmental activism; environmental issues; estuaries; estuary protection; local activism; outdoor classroom; pollution; public health; superfund sites; superfunds; wetland protection

00:08:50 - Hercules 009 Landfill NPL Site

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Partial Transcript: Well, why don't we try and delve a little deeper into one of the projects that you dealt with, and perhaps Hercules would be the one, since it was one of the first?

Segment Synopsis: Parshley talks about the various acts of pollution and contamination resulting from the Hercules 009 Landfill NPL Site originating in the 1948 to 1980. These include the pesticide manufacturing facility and landfill itself, manufacturing waste discharge into Terry Creek and Dupree Creek that occurred from 1948 to 1970, and disposal of waste in the T Street Dump, the Old Sterling Landfill, etc.

Keywords: Back River; Dupree Creek; Hercules, Inc.; T Street Dump; Terry Creek; manufacturing waste; pesticide manufacture; pesticide pollution; pesticides; pollutant runoff; pollutants; river pollution; water pollution

00:10:49 - Project managing the cleanup of superfund sites

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Partial Transcript: And I suppose we need to identify "Hercules," who they are, what they manufacture, before we go much further.

Segment Synopsis: Parshley describes his work as a project manager for the Glynn Environmental Coalition in working with the Hercules "superfund site."

Keywords: Ashland; Ashland, Inc.; Environmental Protection Agency; Hercules; Hercules, Inc.; aquifer contamination; community activism; environmental activism; ground water contamination; pesticide companies; pesticides; public health; superfund; superfund site; waste containment

00:15:51 - Gathering technical assistance and evidence, staging community meetings

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Partial Transcript: And when you say you all were naive, you thought this would be a fairly straight-forward process, you were gonna do what you needed to do to provide oversight and to educate the public based on your resources?

Segment Synopsis: Parshley talks about the process of gathering technical assistance to develop a plan for the cleanup of the Hercules superfund site. He further discusses the process of involving the community in moving forward with the plan, as well as the actions of the state and Environmental Protection Agency in opposition to their activism.

Keywords: Christine Todd Whitman; EPA Ombudsman; Environmental Protection Agency; Environmental Protection Agency Ombudsman; Glynn Environmental Coalition; superfund cleanup; superfunds; toxaphene; toxaphene pollution

00:30:08 - Uncovering suspect documents between Hercules, Inc. and the Environmental Protection Agency

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Partial Transcript: So what was the upshot of all of this, after this five or six years?

Segment Synopsis: Parshley talks about the process of uncovering the "corruption" within documents circulated amongst Hercules, Inc. employees and environmental operating permits held by the company.

Keywords: Environmental Protection Division; Glynn Environmental Coalition; community activism; environmental activism; environmental issues; environmental law; environmental permits; pesticide pollution; pollution

00:41:34 - Pesticide industry employees

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Partial Transcript: -- some people, fearful that the company would shut down or they would lose their jobs; talk a little bit about the whole employment situation and how some of the "folks" who worked there, their response.

Segment Synopsis: Parshley talks about pesticide company employees fighting for the pesticide industry, and discusses his efforts to prevent further contamination and public health hazards created by pesticide companies. He also talks about the role of the media in this battle between business and environmental protection, and the political and personal danger of being involved in Glynn County community activism of environmental issues.

Keywords: Glynn Environmental Coalition; Hercules, Inc.; environmental activism; environmental issues; pesticide industry; pesticide pollution

00:49:49 - Other environmental issues tackled by the Glynn County Environmental Coalition in 1992

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Partial Transcript: Well maybe this is the point to say, sort of, "Hercules" kicked off the organization, but other issues evolved and came to the forefront?

Segment Synopsis: Parshley discusses other projects in which the Glynn County Environmental Coalition became involved in the early 1990s, including a variety of projects in which chemical and pesticide pollutants contaminated local schools.

Keywords: Benson Group; Environmental Protection Project; Glynn County School Board; Glynn County Solid Waste Advisory Committee; Glynn Environmental Coalition; Habersham Street Landfill; Hercules, Inc.; Jekyll Island; LCP Chemicals; LCP, Inc.; coastal development; privatization of solid waste; warf development; waste industry; waste industry privatization

00:55:49 - LCP Chemicals and February 2, 1994 closing as designated superfund site

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Partial Transcript: Okay. Well, before we go much further, you brought up LCP and I think we should, whoever listens to this needs to understand what LCP stood for perhaps, if you know, and what it was, what company it was.

Segment Synopsis: Parshley talks about the LCP chemicals company, their various products, and the chemical processes (and resulting contaminated runoff) involved in the making of said products. He further discusses their designation as a superfund site and subsequent closing.

Keywords: LCP Chemicals; chemical contaminants; chemicals leaching; coastal contamination; environmental law; environmental lawsuits; marsh contamination; mercury contamination; plant closing; pollution; soil contamination; superfund site; superfunds

01:00:01 - LCP Chemicals employees

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Partial Transcript: Well you mentioned earlier that you had gotten threats on your life. What was happening there in terms of the employees at LCP?

Segment Synopsis: Parshley talks about the employees of the LCP chemical company, their threats on his life, and the urine analysis records proving the mercury poisoning of these employees by LCP.

Keywords: Environmental Protection Agency; Glynn Environmental Commission; LCP Chemicals; employee neglect; environmental law; mercury contamination

01:05:04 - Funding for the Glynn Environmental Commission

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Partial Transcript: So you all continued to get these "technical assistance grants"?

Segment Synopsis: Parshley discusses the funding for the Glynn Environmental Coalition and the acquisition of "technical assistance grants" to fund their projects.

Keywords: Glynn Environmental Coalition; environmental funding; environmental nonprofits; environmental protection grants; nonprofit funding; technical assistance grants

01:07:43 - Mercury poisoning and "Mad Hatter's Syndrome" prevalent within African American communities

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Partial Transcript: Right, okay. And you and I talked, touched on this a little bit in our initial conversation, that the African American community has been deeply affected by some of this pollution, because they were right in those neighborhoods, and wondered if you could talk just a little bit about the communication issues there?

Segment Synopsis: Parshley talks about the repeated mercury exposure to the African American community, "Mad Hatter's syndrome" as a result of the mercury poisoning, and the abuse and oppression by the Environmental Protection Agency and the "LCP" chemicals company of these African American communities. He further discusses the resulting oppression of the African American community and children who have been consistently contaminated by mercury from kindergarten to fifth grade.

Keywords: African American communities; African American issues; Mad Hatter's syndrome; Mad hatter disease; biological toxicity; chemical contamination; classism; community injustice; mercury contamination; mercury poisoning; mercury toxicity; minority oppression; minority victimization; social justice

01:17:26 - Collaboration of local environmental nonprofits

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Partial Transcript: Well, over the years, there have just been a lot of big issues here that "GEC" has dealt with.

Segment Synopsis: Parshley talks on the diversity of environmental nonprofits locally and nationally, and the developed credibility of the Glynn Environmental Coalition. He further discusses the media environment and the reception of other environmental agencies by local officials and businesses (including Coca-Cola).

Keywords: Altamaha Riverkeeper; Audubon Society; Coca-Cola; Glynn Environmental Coalition; Ogeechee Riverkeeper; Satilla Riverkeeper; Savannah Riverkeeper; Sierra Club; air pollution; classism; community activism; environmental nonprofits; local environmental protection; minority oppression; social justice; tree initiatives

01:23:58 - Interview Conclusion

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Partial Transcript: Well, on that note, we'll conclude this interview. Thank you so much, Daniel.