CSU, Chico News

Expert Panel Highlights Water Contamination, Citizen Prevention Efforts

Date: 04-19-2016

Joe Wills
Public Affairs
Taylor Wetzel

The Community Legal Information Center (CLIC)’s Environmental Advocates at California State University, Chico are hosting “What’s in Our Water?,” a pollution awareness forum, featuring attorney and environmental advocate Rob Bilott and local water advocate Barbara Vlamis. The event is free and open to the public and will take place on April 26 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Bell Memorial Union Auditorium.

Featured in “The New York Times Magazine” as “The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare,” Bilott will discuss his experience defending the citizens of West Virginia, who suffered the consequences of negligent dumping of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and chemical-laced sludge into their local water supplies. His work influenced the Environmental Protection Agency to develop a plan to regulate PFOA this year.

Vlamis will draw connections from Bilott’s work to discuss local water protection efforts, focusing on her regional water advocacy and highlighting instances of water contamination in Chico that she has worked to abate.

The event will shine light on the health consequences of PFOA and other water contaminates, such as those resulting from iron and lead toxicity in Flint, Michigan’s water supply, which has brought national attention to this issue. The panel aims to enhance awareness of water pollution and foster dialogue between the Chico community and water advocates, including how citizens can work proactively with local officials and use government regulations to prevent and abate water pollution.

The discussion is part of the Associated Students Sustainability Earth Week series, which contains six days of environmentally-focused programming April 22–29. Planned activities include guest speakers, information fairs, a recycled clothing drive, and more. Details for these can be found on the AS Sustainability Facebook page.

For more information on the “What’s in Our Water?” panel, contact CLIC at 530-898-4354 or Taylor Wetzel at aseadirector@csuchico.edu.