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Activist Brockovich urges La Crosse residents to get busy to fight pollution

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For over a year, families on French Island have been using bottled water in place of their well water that’s polluted with PFAS chemicals.  How much longer will that last? 

Activist Erin Brockovich says solving the local pollution problem could take years, but citizens can get involved and push for results from industry and government. 

Brockovich became famous in the 1990’s when she helped uncover water pollution in a small California town, and Julia Roberts starred in a 2000 movie about her.

Speaking at Viterbo last night, Brockovich said companies like 3M warned of PFAS hazards years ago.

“I see that we’re doing things ass-backwards within the EPA,” she says. “What are you possibly thinking, letting a known chemical that you don’t have a lot of science on, and you’re informed isn’t gonna be good for you to keep your eye on it, into the stream of commerce in the first place?”  

Brockovich says other communities with water pollution trouble, such as Flint, Michigan, took action and spent money, and are starting to reduce pollution.  Viterbo is hosting a community program on water which continues with events on Friday.

Brockovich says a sense of ‘stick-to-it-tive-ness’ learned from her parents helped her to try solving community problems, after overcoming dyslexia in her early years. She wrote a book about self-reliance, called “Superman’s Not Coming.”

“We always think, what, something or someone is gonna come and magically fix and do things for us.   That’s not gonna happen,” Brockovich says. “And part of what I think has happened is we got comfortable or we got complacent or maybe we bought an illusion because we stopped believing in ourselves.”

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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