The Alsea Papers

Alsea, an unincorporated community of less than 200 people in the Siuslaw Forest of Benton County, Oregon is home to one of the most important private libraries of environmental information with respect to chemicals, herbicides and pesticides in particular, in the United States. What started in the 1970’s as a community lawsuit against the National Forest Service for spraying residents with herbicides containing chemical found in Agent Orange has become over the years the final resting place for documents obtained in the course of scores of similar lawsuits across the country. Last year, the information was made widely available to the public for the first time on a searchable database through a collaboration of the Bioscience Resource Project and the Center for Media and Democracy.

The contents are shocking.

Want to know about the EPA turning a blind eye to corporate America’s pervasive misuse of chemicals- many of which were applied directly to communities or included without warning in common household product? Or about entire communities plagued with cancers and miscarriages? Or the use of hazardous wastes as ‘inert components’ in other products? Probably not. But like most important things, you should anyway. The people of Alsea, who worked for decades to amass this information on behalf of impacted humans, animals, plants, and ecosystems are aging, their work needs to be retained, and not just on a website.

Go read.