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In Our Backyard Podcast

In Our Backyard Podcast

By Jenn Galler

This is Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League's (BREDL) Podcast where we discuss environmental issues that are right in our backyards. Topics include coal plants, fracking, pipelines, and much more. This podcast takes a deep dive into these topics and talks with people who are on the ground fighting for the health and safety of their communities as well as protection the planet.
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43. Protesting for Peace: Stories from the Netherlands pt. 1

In Our Backyard PodcastSep 08, 2023

43. Protesting for Peace: Stories from the Netherlands pt. 1

43. Protesting for Peace: Stories from the Netherlands pt. 1

This week's episode is a compilation of short interviews from my week at the International Peace Camp in the Netherlands. 45 of us from around Europe and the U.S. gathered together for a week of actions in protest against the U.S. Nuclear bombs stored at the Volkel Air Base. The Netherlands is one of five NATO members to host US nuclear weapons on its territory as part of a nuclear-sharing agreement. The Dutch air force is assigned approximately 15 B61 nuclear bombs, which are deployed at the Air Base. And The F-35 and F-16 fighter-bombers emit over 10 tons of CO2 per flight hour practicing to bomb the world with new, even ‘better’ nuclear bombs in the next war. And during the week, we heard those fighter-bombers practicing numerous times a day.

First is Marion Kuper from Germany who is speaking at our gathering on Hiroshima Day about the nuclear free work in Germany and reads some of the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT), then we talk with Judith from Germany, Hubert from Germany, Vera from the U.S., Brian from the U.S., Onnau from Germany, Ria from Germany, Theo from the U.S. and then Susan from the U.S. 

These are just a few stories and testimonies from the week there. You can check out the links below to learn about why we were there and nuclear sharing in general. There is also some background noise, since I record this in person with people, so I apologize for that. Since this episode ended up being about an hour long I cut it into two episodes so look out for part 2 in two weeks.

More on the international camp:

News Coverage:

Sep 08, 202330:44
42. Uniting Baltimore Through Parks
Aug 25, 202317:29
41. The Theory of Toxicant-Induced Loss of Tolerance (TILT) pt. 2
Aug 11, 202318:35
40. The Theory of Toxicant-Induced Loss of Tolerance (TILT) pt. 1

40. The Theory of Toxicant-Induced Loss of Tolerance (TILT) pt. 1

I’m airing Dr. Claudia Miller’s presentation on her theory of TILT. Dr. Miller is a Professor, Allergy/Immunology and Environmental Health at the University of Texas. For decades Dr. Miller has championed a new theory of disease to join the germ theory and the immune theory: Toxicant-Induced Loss of Tolerance (TILT). TILT explains the mystifying range of symptoms suffered by people with chemical intolerances. It is a two-step process. First, initiation involves acute or chronic exposure to environmental agents such as pesticides, solvents, or indoor air contaminants, followed by triggering of multi-system symptoms by exposure to small quantities of previously tolerated substances such as traffic exhaust, cleaning products, fragrances, foods, drugs, or food-drug combinations.

Dr. Miller gave me permission to air her presentation where she further explains it along with her research and findings. To listen to the full talk with presentation slides, I have linked the youtube video by Beyond Pesticides below.

Contact and connect with Dr. Claudia Miller: 

Watch the full presentation from Beyond Pesticides: 

TILT Website:

Chemical Exposures: Low Levels and High Stakes, 2nd edition 1998:

Microbiome video:

Full Papers attached:

Mast cells article:

TILT Connection article:

Jul 28, 202325:17
39. Nuclear Free in the Netherlands
Jul 14, 202316:31
38. Keeping Norris Lake Blue
Jun 30, 202322:34
37. Ensuring the Anacostia River Flourishes
Jun 16, 202330:43
36. Designing Regenerative Cities

36. Designing Regenerative Cities

Mike Ross is an assistant professor in the University of Tennessee Department of Plant Sciences’ Sustainable Landscape Design concentration and in the School of Landscape Architecture. Originally he was trained as an organismal biologist and evolutionary ecologist. And now, he translates ecological systems and relationships into design and management strategies.

In the episode we talk about city design in an environmental context. According to the United Nations, more than half the world’s population live in cities. By 2050, an estimated 7 out of 10 people will likely live in urban areas. Cities are drivers of economic growth and contribute more than 80 per cent of global GDP.

In our conversation we talked about a lot of different aspects of city planning and design from elements that make a city well designed, public transportation, and green infrastructure but ultimately we couldn’t talk about city planning without mentioning equity, poverty, homelessness, redlining, privilege, and more. It is all interconnected and complex so we mention some of those aspects as well.

We also discuss suburbs vs cities in an environmental context, and know both have their pros and cons. There is no right answer because again, it’s a complex system, we were just having a conversation about them. And we end it by discussing how we should change some of our languaging from sustainable cities to regenerative cities.

Contact and connect with Mike: or 

More on sustainable cities:

Jun 02, 202338:35
35. An Industrial Waste Landfill in A Communities Backyard

35. An Industrial Waste Landfill in A Communities Backyard

Julie Griffin and Julie Owen, are residents in Ringgold, VA where they have an industrial, open air landfill in their backyards. The landfill is owned by First Piedmont where they created the landfill after the community had already existed there for 50+ years. The residents have to look at that mess every time they come out of their houses’ and deal with the odor from it 24 hours a day. There is no fence around it so there is high risk with children and pets in this residential area, not to mention what is in the air and water from it. 

They are a chapter of BREDL called, Coalition for a Clean Dan River Region, where they are taking a stand to protect their family, homes and the air and water that we all depend on!

Industrial landfills have industrial waste in them which can contain metals, glass, asphalt, and more. Landfills produced gasses such as methane, carbon dioxide, and trace amounts of oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, and non methane organic compounds. Not to mention, they produce leachate which is a liquid produced by landfill sites, contaminating nearby water sources, which further damages the ecosystems.

I would highly suggest going to their facebook page “Save our rural community” to see pictures of the  landfill and what they have to deal with daily. 

Contact and connect with Julie Owens and Julie Griffin: 

Facebook page: 

Information about damage of landfills:

May 19, 202328:50
34. Firefighters PPE leading to PFAS in Our Waterways

34. Firefighters PPE leading to PFAS in Our Waterways

We’re back with Jason Burns who is Executive Director at Last Call Foundation and he's been a Firefighter since 2006. He has spent much of his career advocating for better and safer working conditions for his firefighters. I talked with Jason at the end of last year in episode 24, about how there is PFAS in firefighters PPE. We ended the conversation on how when they wash their PPE, the PFAS ends up in their waterways. Now we’re picking the conversation back there.

In 2022, there was a test of 114 waterways from across the country, in which 83% were found to contain at least one type of PFAS—dangerous per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances that are widely linked to serious public health and environmental impacts. 

These findings are an important step toward filling in a major data gap and validate the call to EPA for increased and widespread monitoring to gain a complete picture of PFAS contamination in all watersheds across the country.

In spite of the serious health risks, there are currently no universal, science-based limits on the various PFAS chemicals in the United States. For many PFAS chemicals, the EPA has not even set a health advisory limit that would give the public a baseline to determine what amount of PFAS is unhealthy in drinking water. In most cases, the EPA is not doing adequate monitoring for these chemicals, which is why these findings are so unique and important.

Contact and connect with Jason:

Study/survery mentioned: 

May 05, 202319:22
33. Microplastics in Our Waterways
Apr 21, 202320:12
32. The Dangers of Dioxins: The Ohio Train Derailment

32. The Dangers of Dioxins: The Ohio Train Derailment

Steven Lester is a Toxicologist and the Science Director at the Center for Health, Environment and Justice, CHEJ.

We speak about the East Palestine, Ohio train derailment where 38 of its 150 cars derailed while carrying a variety of hazardous chemicals on February 3rd. A few days after the train cars derailed the company, Norfolk Southern, was afraid of a bigger explosion and decided to dump and burn the 5 cars carrying vinyl chloride. 

The burning of this leads to dioxins in the air, soil, water, and farm animals there. “Dioxin” is the name given to a group of persistent, very toxic chemicals that share similar chemical structures. Dioxin is not deliberately manufactured. It is the unintended byproduct of industrial processes that use or burn chlorine. Dioxin exposure can have serious environmental and human health effects such as cancer, reproductive damage, developmental problems, type 2 diabetes, ischemic heart disease, infertility in adults, impairment of the immune system and skin lesions.

The high exposure to this particular chemical puts the community at high risk, but also has the potential to travel through the air and water and have an effect on the produce and animals we consume as it's in the soils. Norfolk Southern and the EPA have been denying and delaying testing for this. Steven along with the community has been putting pressure on them to do accurate and timely testing. Steven also got invited by the community to attend public meetings and is in contact with residents on the ground there. We speak about their concerns and if the area will ever be safe again. 

Contact and connect with Steven: 


Guardian article with Steven:

Apr 07, 202333:11
31. The Piney Grove Community 1 Year After a Chemical Disaster
Mar 24, 202324:39
30. Re-Populating Freshwater Mussels in the Potomac River
Mar 10, 202317:03
29. Stop the Dominion Pipeline Along the Great Pee Dee River

29. Stop the Dominion Pipeline Along the Great Pee Dee River

We check back in with Kathy Andrews where 2 years ago when she was in the middle of the fight against Dominion Energy putting a pipeline through her land in Florence County, SC. Now she is Executive Director of BREDL and she is continuing her work on stopping this same pipeline and protecting people’s properties.

Dominion Energy, one of the nation’s top polluters, they have condemned the land of several African-American heirs and working class citizens as part of their proposed pipeline project, which would run along the Great Pee Dee River and through several communities, including Pamplico, SC.

And now Dominion has installed a gas pipeline in front of Kathy’s home — without notice. She’s lived in it for nearly two decades. Kathy said she walked out of her door to see Dominion Energy workers digging a hole in her front yard; something she said she never gave permission or received a notice for. We talk about this as well as how she is getting her community involved.

Contact and connect with Kathy: 

Feb 24, 202326:06
28. The Peoples of New Mexico: Legacy Contamination

28. The Peoples of New Mexico: Legacy Contamination

This is New Mexico, a sacrifice zone for the nuclear industry. From the first testing of a nuclear weapon, the relentless mining of uranium, radioactive areas, and now transportation and storage of nuclear waste. New Mexico and the Indigenous Peoples have experienced far too much neglect and harm - all caused by the nuclear industry.

In September 2022 Jesse Deer In Water, based in Michigan, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and a leader in CRAFT (Citizen Resistance At Fermi Two) and I went to visit Leona Morgan in New Mexico, who is a Dine/Navajo woman who has spent a good portion of her life in New Mexico and is fighting against nuclear coming into her communities. (both of whom are co-hosting this 3 part series) Within the episodes and conversations we  learned about their history from the local people and those who are fighting against it.

I saw the injustice and hurt that has gone on here, but also immense strength that has gotten the People where they are today. This is a story of the People in New Mexico, who are fighting for justice and guiding a new generation of activists to write their own narrative. Los Alamos National Lab came into New Mexico in 1943 and were the ones who designed and tested that first nuclear weapon. Beata, who we hear from first, speaks about how Los Alamos National Lab was actually supposed to be a temporary site and they stole the land through eminent domain from the Pueblo Peoples. There is now a narrative from the Lab that the people in the area should strive to work for them, coming into schools and speaking of the good they’re doing. While leaving out the stolen land as well as the vast amounts of radiation they’re consciously exposing them to. Another aspect to this is that they don’t encourage the Native People to work in management roles, rather the clean up and remediation of it.

Contact with Jesse Deer in Water and Leona Morgan:



Feb 10, 202336:19
27. The Peoples of New Mexico: The Lasting Effects of Uranium Mining

27. The Peoples of New Mexico: The Lasting Effects of Uranium Mining

We’re back with the New Mexico series where Jesse Deer in Water, Leona Morgan and I talk to and learn from the local peoples who are fighting against the nuclear fuel chain in New Mexico. As mentioned, New Mexico has been a sacrifice zone for the nuclear industry. From the first testing of a nuclear weapon, the relentless mining of uranium, radioactive areas, and now transportation and storage of nuclear waste. New Mexico and the Indigenous Peoples have experienced far too much neglect and harm.

Jesse: Now we’re in Churchrock, just east of Gallup, New Mexico. Where the world’s largest uranium spill happened. On July 16th 1979, the United Nuclear Corporation's mill tailings dam collapsed which released the largest amount of radioactive materials in the world. More than 11,000 tons of solid radioactive waste and 94 million gallons of acidic, liquid radioactive tailings made their way into the Puerco River and contaminated more than 80 miles downstream. Residents along the Puerco report smelling chemicals  during heavy rains, even more than 40 years after the spill. In 2015, twice the legal limit of allowable uranium was found in the tap water in Sanders, Arizona just downstream from Churchrock. The community was told not to drink the water and the schools were given bottled water.

Jenn: We’re greeted by Edith Hood and Bertha Nez who live right by the spill and between 3 abandoned uranium mines. We’re in their community center that is open air and surrounded by dirt ground. We felt the harsh wind blowing on us and I felt the sediment blowing and surrounding us that may still be contaminated. In May 2007, the EPA announced that it would join the Navajo Nation tribal government in cleaning up radioactive contamination near the Church Rock mine, although it cannot be cleaned that easily and will be a timely process with many still developing cancer and other illnesses in the meantime. There are still over 500 abandoned uranium mines on Navajo traditional homelands that need to be cleaned up.

Contact with Jesse Deer in Water and Leona Morgan:



Jan 27, 202313:14
26. The Peoples of New Mexico: Abandoned Uranium Mines

26. The Peoples of New Mexico: Abandoned Uranium Mines

Jan 13, 202308:06
 25. Volunteer Firefighters Against PFAS Pt. 3
Dec 23, 202209:04
24. PFAS in Firefighters Personal Protective Equipment Pt. 2
Dec 09, 202221:20
23. PFAS Exposure in Firefighting Foam to Veterans and Firefighters Pt. 1

23. PFAS Exposure in Firefighting Foam to Veterans and Firefighters Pt. 1

Kevin Ferrara is considered a PFAS subject matter expert who has 34-years of fire service experience, and agile Fire Protection and Emergency Service (FPES) consulting expertise, to emergency service affiliated organizations around the world.

In the episode we speak about Kevin’s personal experience and exposure with PFAS during his years of service and specifically Aqueous Film Forming Foam or (AFFF) which is a fire suppressant used by firefighters. In order to make the mixture foamy and create a film that helps extinguish fires, AFFF contains chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS.

Two of the most common types of PFAS found in AFFF are perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and/or perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). These chemicals are human-made compounds and don’t occur naturally in the environment. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, they are harmful if a person suffers long-term exposure. The chemicals build up in the body and may cause negative health effects, including cancer.

Lab studies have found that PFOS and PFOA are toxic to animals. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found evidence suggesting that PFOS and PFOA may cause cancer.

With Kevin we talk about his experience as a firefighter, risks involved with AFFF, how people can test for exposure, his advocacy about it, and his response from the military, fire departments, and the VA.

Contact and connect with Kevin:


PFAS in blood:

Nov 25, 202227:24
22. Defending the Law for Citizens Groups in the Appalachian Region
Nov 11, 202227:48
21. Frontline Communities Rising Up Against the Mountain Valley Pipeline
Oct 28, 202217:42
20. The Manchin Bill and Mountain Valley Pipeline

20. The Manchin Bill and Mountain Valley Pipeline

Freeda Cathcart who is the Mothers Out Front Team Coordinator.

We talk all about the Manchin Bill which is proposed by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chair Joe Manchin. It's a bill with an outline of tax, climate, energy, and healthcare measures that speeds up fossil fuel and clean energy projects. In the episode we will focus on its effects on the Mountain Valley Pipeline, MVP.

Manchin’s bill includes a mandate for agencies to approve the contentious Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline project. Many Virginia communities have revolted against the venture. The pipeline, proposed will run through West Virginia, Virginia and a sliver of North Carolina, has had multiple permits repeatedly struck down since it was initially approved in 2017. It is now expected to cost more than $6 billion to complete, more than double the original cost estimate.

The Manchin bill would move the legal venue for challenges to Mountain Valley from the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond to the U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Columbia Circuit.

The bill text also includes a provision imposing a two-year deadline on permitting reviews for major projects under NEPA, and one year for projects with less impact.

With Freeda we talk about the work she does, the bill, the effects it has on the MVP, how the MVP effects communities and energy permitting provisions.

Contact and connect with Freeda:


Manchin Bill:

Oct 14, 202223:33
19. Stop GenX and Other Perfluoroalkyl Chemicals
Sep 30, 202244:20
18. The Legacy of Uranium Mining and Nuclear on Indigenous Peoples Land

18. The Legacy of Uranium Mining and Nuclear on Indigenous Peoples Land

Leona Morgan (Diné/Navajo, she/her) is an indigenous community organizer and activist who has been fighting nuclear colonialism since 2007. Her work includes stopping: new uranium mining, transport of radioactive materials, and nuclear waste dumping in the Southwestern United States.

Uranium mining in New Mexico was a significant industry from the early 1950s until the early 1980s. New Mexico has the second largest identified uranium ore reserves of any state (after Wyoming). Although uranium has not been mined in the state since 1998, it left behind a legacy of contamination. New Mexican uranium miners and people nearby have had abnormally high rates of lung cancer, from radon gas in poorly ventilated underground mines, contaminated water, and other serious health effects.

The legacy of uranium in New Mexico, shows the decades of indifference from uranium companies and the federal government to the health and lives of people who’ve lived near uranium mines and mills. This deserves to be more widely known, especially the disproportionate effects on Indigenous populations and the communities that live in the region. And now New Mexicans are dealing with nuclear waste and storage in their communities.

With Leona we talk about her family history that brought her to this work, nuclear issues NM faces, uranium mining, what locals think about nuclear, and what she’s looking forward to in the future.

Contact and connect with Leona:

Legacy of Uranium mining:

Sep 16, 202237:33
17. Conserving and Protecting the Gunpowder River

17. Conserving and Protecting the Gunpowder River

Theaux Le Gardeur who is executive director of Gunpowder RIVERKEEPER®, they are a grassroots, advocacy-based membership organization charged with protecting, conserving and restoring the Gunpowder, Bird and Bush Rivers and their Watersheds located in Monkton, MD.

Because of the economic, biological and recreational importance of the Gunpowder River, there exists a pressing need for independent, comprehensive baseline environmental monitoring and mapping of the river and its watershed. They participate in monitoring projects such as temperature, pH, dissolved solids, Chlorophyll A, Nitrogen, Phosphorous and bacteria are collected throughout the watershed. This data will be visualized with GIS mapping and shared with regulatory agencies.

With Theaux we talk about the river itself, what problems the river is facing, projects and sampling they’re working on, and NASA satellite training that they’re a part of.

And to give more information on the NASA satellite training we attended, every day, several NASA satellites circle the globe from the North to the South Pole. As the earth turns, these satellite routes will cross over the entire planet, one swath at a time. Some of these satellites take pictures of the ever-changing waters of the earth.

This program is designed to ground truth the satellite data by comparing information from samples obtained in the field to the satellite data to determine how precisely the space images capture water quality data.

Contact and connect with Theaux:

Gunpowder and their work:

NASA and SERC collaboration:

Sep 02, 202218:07
16. Plant Vogtle, Shell Bluff, and Zero Waste Updates
Aug 19, 202220:53
15. The Pollution of the Fermi 2 Power Plant
Aug 05, 202217:53
14. Stop the Burning of Waste in Baltimore

14. Stop the Burning of Waste in Baltimore

Steph Compton is a Baltimore Organizer for Energy Justice Network, she has been working on Environmental justice issues since 2012 and she is currently working on all things pertaining to zero waste.

Baltimore currently has a large waste incinerator in the middle of the city that burns not only Baltimore’s trash but surrounding states and counties trash. This makes for some of the most dangerous air to breathe in the nation. MIT researchers showed that Baltimore City had the deadliest air in the nation in 2005. According to the EPA, in 2014, Baltimore was the 81st most air polluted locality in the nation (out of over 9,000) and is the most polluted city in Maryland. In 2018, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America ranked Baltimore as the 33rd worst asthma capital in the nation. This law we’ve been working on would force the city’s largest air polluter (the Wheelabrator Baltimore trash incinerator) and the nation’s largest medical waste incinerator (Curtis Bay Energy) to abide by the nation’s strictest standards or shut down.

With Steph we talk about how she’s going about tackling this incinerator, zero waste and recycling, organizing in Baltimore, politics of the city, deconstruction, and what she’s looking forward to in the future.

Contact and connect with Steph:

Clean Air Baltimore:

Baltimore Waste Incinerator:

Jul 22, 202229:11
13. Peace Wanted: Get U.S. Bombs Out of Germany

13. Peace Wanted: Get U.S. Bombs Out of Germany

In this re-release episode I talk with John LaForge who is the co-director of NukeWatch. We highlight his work advocating the issue of the U.S. nuclear bombs in Germany. To give some historical background, Despite the end of the Cold War, about 20 US nuclear bombs are still deployed in Germany. German pilots are both trained and obligated to take off with these bombs in their Tornado jet fighter-bombers and, if the orders come from a US president through NATO, to use them on their targets. This terrifying NATO war plan is part of the “nuclear sharing agreement” between the US and Germany, and includes a first-strike option. NATO calls this nuclear proliferation “Power and Burden Sharing.”

Because of this every year a Peace Delegation is held in Germany to bring together people and organziations to send the existing U.S. nuclear weapons back home, and to halt production of the new B61-12 nuclear bomb to be deployed in five European countries as well as to pressure the government and remind lawmakers to permanently remove the US weapons.I will be attending the Germany Peace Delegation at the Büchel Air Base from July 11-17th to participate in direct actions towards this goal.

With John we talk about Germany and the US relationship with nuclear weapons, differences in direct actions between the two countries, the goals of the Peace delegation they hold every year, if Germany is making itself a target by having these nuclear weapons, and the relationship Germany has with other NATO countries.

Contact and connect with John:


US and Germany history/ background:

Nonproliferation Treaty:

Germany’s progessive stances:

Germany Peace Delegation:

Two Plus Four Treaty:

Jul 08, 202224:20
12. Georgia State Legislation Passed Unanimously!
Jun 24, 202224:01
11. Environmental Reporting Can Bring Policy Change
Jun 10, 202219:09
10. The Cost of a Polluting Recycling Facility in GA
May 27, 202215:42
9. 1,4 Dioxane in NC Landfills & Groundwater
May 13, 202217:22
8. Public Health Aspect of Winston-Salem Disaster
Apr 29, 202215:31
7. A Community Affected By A Chemical Disaster
Apr 15, 202218:10
6. Reform Happening for Ammonium Nitrate

6. Reform Happening for Ammonium Nitrate

In our last episode with David Flores we spoke all about the disaster in Winston-Salem NC that just occured where nearly 600 tons of ammonium nitrate caught fire at the Weaver fertilizer plant on Jan. 31 and burned for four days. The risk of explosion was so great that Winston-Salem officials asked people to evacuate within a mile radius, temporarily displacing 6,000 residents. Now with Deena Tumeh who is an Associate Attorney at Earthjustice, we speak about the reform that she and others have been working on for hazardous chemicals like this.

With Deena we talk about the cases and reform she is working on, why industries are pushing back these laws, if it was preventable, and how we can keep EPA and other federal lawmakers accountable.

Contact and connect with Deena:

Winston Salem disaster:

Apr 01, 202209:56
5. Preventing Double Disasters: Disaster in Winston-Salem

5. Preventing Double Disasters: Disaster in Winston-Salem

David Flores, J.D., is a CPR Senior Policy Analyst. He joined CPR in 2016 to work on climate adaptation policy and advocacy.

We talk specifically about the disaster in Winston-Salem NC that just occurred where nearly 600 tons of ammonium nitrate caught fire at the Weaver fertilizer plant on Jan. 31 and burned for four days. The risk of explosion was so great that Winston-Salem officials asked people to evacuate within a mile radius, temporarily displacing 6,000 residents. The Center for Progressive Reform came out with an article that emphasized the need to prevent double disasters, which implies that hazardous chemical releases by industrial facilities are worsened by inadequate action in the face of conditions of climate change and natural disasters. As the global climate crisis intensifies, coastal and inland communities are increasingly at risk of natural disasters.”

With David, we talk about the incident, what preventable measurements could have taken place, who was affected, EPA’s risk management preventions, and what reform can be done on a national level.

Contact and connect with David: dflores@progressivereform.or

CRP report:

Other news:

Mar 18, 202227:47
4. Air Monitoring 101

4. Air Monitoring 101

Therese Vick is the NC Sustainable Economic Development Coordinator/ Community Organizer for us here at BREDL. Community groups, especially our BREDL chapters, often use air monitoring as a tool for organizing. They are often concerned about the quality of the air they breathe and how it may affect their health or the health of family and friends. With smaller, low-cost sensors available, groups have become increasingly engaged in monitoring the air quality in their neighborhoods to understand and reduce potential health risks.

To define it, air monitoring is the systematic, long-term assessment of pollutant levels by measuring the quantity and types of certain pollutants in the surrounding, outdoor air. There are many reasons to do air monitoring such as:

  • assess the extent of pollution;
  • provide air pollution data to the general public in a timely manner;
  • support implementation of air quality goals or standards;
  • evaluate the effectiveness of emissions control strategies;
  • provide information on air quality trends;
  • provide data for the evaluation of air quality models; and
  • support research (e.g., long-term studies of the health effects of air pollution).

With Therese we discuss the validity of community air monitoring, the process for a good air monitoring set up, what people can do with this information after, and how to keep these industries accountable for polluting our air.

Contact and connect with Therese:

Air Monitoring resources:

Sign up for local air notices: ​​

Mar 04, 202220:09
3. Keeping Baltimore’s Water Clean

3. Keeping Baltimore’s Water Clean

Leanna Powell is the Director of Development and Communications at Blue Water Baltimore whose mission is to restore the quality of Baltimore’s rivers, streams and Harbor to foster a healthy environment, a strong economy and thriving communities.

For too long, Baltimore’s waterways have been plagued by trash, toxins, sewage, and polluted stormwater. These problems do more than harm our environment; they threaten the health and well-being of our residents, communities, and local businesses. They work to change this.

With Leanna we talk about water quality issues Baltimore is facing, toxic pollution, historical aspects of the city that have led to water issues, educating and listening to citizens, and how to get involved with water issues near you.

Contact and connect with Leanna:

Blue Water Baltimore:

Find a local water keeper:

Feb 18, 202223:48
2. The History of Racism and Environmental Injustice at the Nation’s Oldest Public University
Feb 04, 202216:21
1. Environmental Journalism in the South

1. Environmental Journalism in the South

Lyndsey Gilpin is the founder + executive editor of Southerly. Southerly is a nonprofit that serves communities in the South who face environmental injustice and are most at risk of the effects of climate change. They do this by equipping them with the journalism, resources, and information they need to make their communities healthier and safer, to hold power to account, and to have agency over their future.

With Lyndsey we talk about their approach to equipping people with journalism, how they reach people in rural places, how they create their well-rounded stories, and some of the main environmental concerns they write about.

Contact and connect with Lyndsey: 


Jan 21, 202227:05
7. Real Cost of Nuclear : Nuclear Can’t Solve The Climate Crisis

7. Real Cost of Nuclear : Nuclear Can’t Solve The Climate Crisis

This is the final episode to finish out the Real Cost of Nuclear season! And it’s all about how nuclear can’t solve the climate crisis. I talk with Don Safer, who is with the Tennessee Environmental Council and does local work with the Sierra Club. There are a lot of claims that nuclear can solve or be a bridge to the climate crisis - but in this episode we question if that is just the industry propaganda that is blinding us to actual solutions?

With Don, we talk about how nuclear does produce Co2, factors that make it unsustainable, the factor of time in the climate crisis, and how clean energy solutions can fix many of our environmental problems.

Contact and connect with Don:  

Dec 10, 202141:49
6. Real Cost of Nuclear : Nuclear Weapons

6. Real Cost of Nuclear : Nuclear Weapons

Dec 03, 202125:05
5. Real Cost of Nuclear : The Problem of Nuclear Waste

5. Real Cost of Nuclear : The Problem of Nuclear Waste

Ian Zabarte is the Principle Man of the Western Bands of the Shoshone Nation of Indians and works with the Native Community Action Council. He lives in Las Vegas, NV and has worked on nuclear issues for 30+ years.

We specifically talk about Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository, which is a proposed deep geological repository storage facility within Yucca Mountain to store spent nuclear fuel, in other terms, nuclear waste and other high-level radioactive waste. The project was approved in 2002 by the 107th United States Congress, but federal funding for the site ended in 2011. With no federal funding it’s up to the NRC and DOE but there has not been a final decision on the repository license application. The project has encountered many difficulties and was highly contested by the Western Shoshone peoples and non-local public. As of 2019 the status of the proposed repository at Yucca Mountain remains uncertain.

We discuss the significant impacts Yucca Mountain has for the Shoshone people, the significance of land and water for Indiginious people, what a nuclear waste repository is, the relationship between tribal governments and the federal government, the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA), and then what you can do to take action.

Contact and connect with Ian:

Learn more about the Native Community Action Council:

Treaty of Ruby Valley:

Yucca Mountain Resources:

Radiation Exposure Compensation Act:


Nov 26, 202136:05
4. Real Cost Of Nuclear : Use Of Nuclear, What Are The Impacts?
Nov 19, 202140:52
3. Real Cost of Nuclear : Uranium Mining in New Mexico

3. Real Cost of Nuclear : Uranium Mining in New Mexico

Petuuche GIlbert tells his personal experience of living in the Grants Mining District in New Mexico and has been working on nuclear and mining issues for 30+ years. Petuuche is also an environmental and human rights activist as well as a member of the Multicultural Alliance for Safe Environment and President of the Indigenous World Association, a United Nations NGO.

New Mexico has no nuclear power plants, but it does have the nation's second-largest uranium resource equal to nearly one-third of U.S. known uranium reserves. We talk about uranium mining which is the first part of the nuclear fuel chain and is the  process of extraction of uranium ore from the ground. Uranium from this type of mining is used almost entirely as fuel for nuclear power plants.

The Grants Mining District, where Petuuche lives, was the primary focus of uranium extraction and production activities in New Mexico from the 1950s until the late 1990s. Nuclear is responsible for infusing about $3 billion a year into New Mexico’s economy, Los Alamos National Laboratory is being held up by lab officials, politicians and others as an example of the kind of high-tech economic drivers.

With Petuuche we talk about the Grants Mining District, nuclear activity and funding in New Mexico, Consolidated Interim Storage (CIS), his work in the area, and what his hope for the future is. 

Contact and connect with Petuuche: or

Grants Mining District:

Trinity Nuclear Testing:

Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP):

New Mexico’s income from nuclear:

Nov 12, 202127:47
2. Real Cost of Nuclear : Nuclear 101

2. Real Cost of Nuclear : Nuclear 101

This week I spoke with Maggie and Arnie Gundersen. Maggie is the president of Fairewinds Energy Education and Arnie is a nuclear engineer and expert witness he is also the chief engineer for Fairewinds Associates, Inc, paralegal services and expert testimony firm. They both previously worked in the nuclear industry when they both came to the conclusion that this is not the future they want to support or work in and began their research and formation of Fairewinds to inform and educate people around the world, legislative officials, and members of the press concerning the scientific and economic issues relating to the production of electricity and the sources of energy used to create power.

With both Maggie and Arnie we talk about the history of nuclear, what resources we need for it, fission vs. fusion, their peer-reviewed publications, and what they're currently working on. To contact and connect with them and Fairewinds Energy Education will be in the show notes below.

Thank you so much to both Maggie and Arnie for speaking with me. To read their peer-reviewed publications and learn more about their organizations Fairewinds will be in the show notes below. And tune in next week where we will talk about how the uranium is mined to get the end product of nuclear. Thanks everyone and have a good week!

Contact and connect with Maggie and Arnie Gundersen:


Peer Reviewed Papers:

Nov 05, 202138:23
1. Real Cost of Nuclear : Nuclear Terms and Jargon Explained

1. Real Cost of Nuclear : Nuclear Terms and Jargon Explained

Hi everyone and welcome back to the In Our Backyard Podcast and if you’re new, welcome. In the Real Cost of Nuclear season, I thought I would start things out with a re-release episode with Kevin Kamps who is with Beyond Nuclear. He specializes in high-level waste management and transportation; new and existing reactors; decommissioning; Congress watch; climate change; and federal subsidies.

We talk about all things nuclear: breaking down nuclear jargon and terms, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), how likely it is that another accident will happen, and how Kevin got into anti-nuclear himself.

To contact and connect with Kevin will be in the show notes below and I hope you enjoy the episode.

Thanks Kevin for speaking with me, if you have any suggestions for future episodes contact BREDL through their website or on one of our social media platforms in the show notes. Thanks for tuning in and come back next week for another episode of the Real Cost of Nuclear season.

Contact and connect with Kevin:

Beyond Nuclear:

Institute for Energy and Environmental Research:

Insurmountable Risks Book:

Consolidated Interim Storage Facilities (CISF):


Deep Isolation:


Oct 29, 202129:04