Oregon daily emerald. (Eugene, Or.) 1920-2012, August 05, 1980, Page 4, Image 4

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    Energy conference stresses women's role
Of the Emerald
Women don't have to take a backseat
to men in designing the country’s energy
About 300 women heard that
oft-repeated message during a Women
and Energy Conference Saturday at
Portland State Universtity The PSU
women studies department, Ratepayers
Union and Portland Sun sponsored the
statewide conference which involved
more than 20 workshops on energy
related skills, job opportunities and poli
tical organizing.
Workshops informed women about
renter rights and weatherization pro
grams, how to weatherproof homes, how
to effect legislative decision-making, and
how private and public utilities fund their
generation projects. Women wanting to
take an active part in the energy
movement attended workshops on how
to participate in community energy plan
ning, how to influence unions' treatment
of energy issues and how to work with
the media in publicizing energy projects.
The workshops were designed “to
facilitate greater involvement in the field
of energy where too few women are now
mobilized,'' said Conference Coordina
tor Nancy Cosper She realized the need
for a woman’s conference after attend
ing a recent energy conference in Seattle
and finding it dominated by men.
Workshop leader Beverly Stein said
she hoped the energy conference would
convince progressive women that they
can influence energy decisions; one
avenue of influence is through forming
and participating in people’s utility dis
“People’s utility districts are not a
panacea, but they.can be a tool for
economic development and revitaliza
tion of our communities,’’ Stein said.
"Changing the type of energy tech
nology is not the answer unless we es
tablish control over the technology.
Women already are taking important
roles in deciding and changing our en
ergy future.”
Another workshop leader, Judy
Knowles, said she became an
energy-conservation activist after her
home’s energy cost "literally brought me
to my knees last year.”
”1 had to choose between food and
other necessities or keeping me and my
daughter warm,” Knowles said. "Others
were shaping our destiny.
"We came here today to learn conser
vation techniques. We want to do the
Graphic by Jill Stapleton of Rain Magazine, Portland
$500 job that the experts charge $5,000
Among the energy conservation tech
niques demonstrated at the conference
were types of weather stripping, calking,
storm windows and insulation. Women
learned how to audit their dwellings for
heat loss and then apply the appropriate
technique to minimize the loss.
Conference keynote speaker Valerie
Pope described how she went beyond
raising her own energy consciousness to
raise the energy consciousness of an
entire community by developing the San
Bernardino West Side Community
Development Corporation in California
A minority-owned and -operated com
munity corporation, CDC develops and
utilizes energy systems that reduce en
ergy costs for poor people while provid
ing training and job opportunities for
local community members. Since its in
corporation in 1972, CDC has rehabili
tated over 500 homes - applying energy
conservation and solar energy hardware
in more than 60 of them - and has
provided work for over 800 youth in
construction trades.
“I got involved in welfare rights and
CDC because I was concerned about the
future of my children,” Pope said "I
think that’s what makes women's organ
izations hold out against all odds — we re
concerned about the future.”
In the late 1960s, the San Bernardino
area faced mass unemployment, hous
ing abandonment and economic disin
vestment. Pope and several other
women living in the area began a vigor
ous neighborhood renewal program that
still exists.
"Because most of the men were gone,
for one reason or another, the children
were our (the women's) responsibility,"
Pope said "We didn’t even know how to
make housing repairs.”
Beginning with a federal grant of
$5,000, CDC has reached a projected
budget in excess of $6 million for 1980.
Pope has received national recognition
for her achievements and recently re
turned from an energy conference with
President Jimmy Carter.
"We got involved in solar energy in
1974 when we realized that poor people
would have to bear the largest financial
burden of the energy crisis,” Pope said.
"Solar’s an excellent opportunity for
people to become self-sufficient. The
sun is not affected by inflation. Once the
capital investment is recovered, the more
utility rates go up, the more cost effective
solar becomes.”
Synergism offers new exploration of 2,4D
Of the Emerald
During the last years of the
Vietnam war, some veterans
claimed their exposure to Agent
Orange was causing nervous
disorders, birth defects and
Dow Chemical Co. — man
ufacturer of Agent Orange, a
jungle defoliant composed of
equal parts of the phenoxy pes
ticides 2,4D and 2,4,5-T — said
the veterans' problems were
caused by neither 2,4D nor
2.4.5- T but by dioxin, a
molecule produced inadver
tently in the manufacture of
2.4.5- T.
The public’s focus on the
dioxin in 2,4,5-T has led to the
Environmental Protection
Agency's cancellation hearings
on the pesticide now underway
in Washington
Although Dow may be correct
in blaming dioxin for the veter
ans' health problems, the
chemical producer sidestepped
the issue of dioxins in 2,4D until
fall, 1978, when an in-house
newspaper of a Lewiston,
Idaho, timber firm reported that
2,4D contains dioxin.
The article in the Potlatch
Times was published after a
member of the Washington
Idaho organization Citizens for
Alternatives to Toxic Herbicides
found a US. Agriculture
Department study from the early
1970s that reported one in 28
samples of 2,4D contained
dioxin. Most CATH members
dismissed the Agriculture
Department report as unrelia
ble, or a fluke But one CATH
member wrote a letter to the
Lewiston Morning Tribune
claiming that 2,4D contains
Royce Cox, Potlatchs
environmental forester, read the
letter and called Dow's West
Coast representative who con
firmed that 2,4D contained a
form of dioxin, but he said peo
ple shouldn't worry because
that particular dixoin is one
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seventh as toxic as the dioxin
found in in 2,4,5-T, and its
biological impact isn’t enough
to be significant
However, CATH member Paul
Merrell says because dioxins in
other phenoxy pesticides are
not as stable as the one in
2,4,5-T — 2,4D and other diox
in-bearing pesticides react with
lesser dioxins in the environ
ment to form higher dioxins
such as the one in 2,4,5-T.
As well, higher dioxins
decompose and form the lower
dioxin found in 2,4,5-T
This leads to synergism: the
combined action of several
dioxin-bearing pesticides
become greater in total effect
than the sum of their effects in
While current chemical re
search methods investigate
isolated chemicals, the examin
ation of the combined effects of
chemicals may lead to new
findings on 2,4D and other
phenoxy pesticides.
However EPA scientists
aren't likely to explore the syn
ergistic effects of 2,4D for a
Before the agency can su
spend the use of 2,4,5-T, federal
law requires that it show alter
natives can be found. In nearly
every instance, the EPA recom
mends 2,4D as the alternative.
The EPA has put itself in a
legal box. It can’t move against
2,4D and other phenoxy pes
ticides without damaging its
case against 2,4,5-T.
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