Pin It
Favorite

Q&A: Rose Dempsey 

The Valley councilwoman on clean water, clean air and a clean Kellogg.

click to enlarge art14939.jpg

Rose Dempsey didn’t give the first Earth Day too much thought. She was living in Coeur d‘Alene, where she was born and raised. “I was busy trying to live life,” she says. “I believe in the Earth and I believe we need to take care of our environment and not abuse our environment, and I guess that is about the extent of my involvement with Earth Day.”

In addition to serving on the Spokane Valley City Council, Dempsey is also the current chair of the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency. The agency is charged with enforcing federal, state and local air pollution standards.

She says air quality in Spokane has changed a lot in the last 40 years. “I can remember when you would come down Sunset Hill and there would be this dirty blanket over the city,” she says. “And you come down now, you come from the airport, you come down the hill on I-90 and you’ve got this beautiful clean city that you see, and it’s just a wonderful thing. ”

INLANDER: What environmental battles have been won in the last 40 years?

DEMPSEY: I think the cleanup of Kellogg has been remarkable. I can remember driving up I-90 and I crossed the Coeur d’Alene River and just to the north of it you could see the north fork of the Coeur d’Alene and the south fork of the Coeur d’Alene coming together. The north fork was green and the south fork was white. You could see the line as the two forks came together and then they blurred. That just gave me the chills.

When I was a kid, it was like a moonscape up in Kellogg. … I know it took an awful lot of work for people to start realizing what needed to be done. But you can hardly tell there was a problem there now.

What environmental battles have been lost?

Well, you know, they had the cancer with the kids up in Kellogg that happened because of the garbage they put in the soil, so that has been an ongoing thing.

What is the next big environmental issue for the region to face?

The phosphorus level [in the Spokane River]. And also the wastewater treatment. You know, I think that is a huge thing and I’m not sure that many people are aware of the problems that we have looming ahead of us. And that has to do with the phosphorus and whether we’re going to be able to discharge into the river at all. That’s a huge problem that the county is wrestling with. I don’t know how that is going to go. But I think that it is something we all need to be aware of … You can’t keep dumping sewage forever.

How are you trying to impact the environment for the better?

I try to live a responsible life. As far as polluting, I try not to pollute. I try to do things that will protect our environment and encourage our environment.

There’s not a whole lot one person does or does not do that will affect things, but if you get a lot of people doing these things — a little bit here and there — pretty soon it makes a substantial change. I try to do the best I can and assume other people will try to do the best they can.


Born out of the environmental movement of the late ’60s, Earth Day turns 40 this week. To mark the occasion, we decided to take stock of our successes and failures, asking local activists and thinkers to consider how far we’ve come and which issues need our attention now.

Tags: ,

  • Pin It

Speaking of Environment

  • Train Tax?
  • Train Tax?

    Spokane voters will consider fines on oil and coal trains on November's ballot
    • Jul 28, 2016
  • Cause For Alarm
  • Cause For Alarm

    Residents of a remote part of Stevens County say something is making them sick, but no one is sure exactly what it is
    • Jun 30, 2016
  • Beneath the Surface
  • Beneath the Surface

    Will changing conditions in Lake Coeur d'Alene stir up its toxic history?
    • Jun 16, 2016
  • More »

Latest in News

  • OK, Hold Your Nose
  • OK, Hold Your Nose

    Everything you need to know before Election Day
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • Base of Support
  • Base of Support

    Polling local leaders and opinion-makers about presidential politics
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • The Messenger
  • The Messenger

    Local leaders weigh in on how Donald Trump's campaign has impacted racism in America
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat
Inlander Debate Party

Inlander Debate Party @ nYne

Mon., Sept. 26, 5 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Don Gronning

  • Language Barriers
  • Language Barriers

    Inside an English Language Development classroom where students hail from Nepal, Russia, Thailand, Cuba and Afghanistan
    • Jan 20, 2010
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • Murrow's Nightmare

    Debate moderators need to be much more than an onstage prop to make our democracy work
    • Sep 15, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

election 2016


trail mix


Briefs


green zone


marijuana


Readers also liked…

  • Patrolling While Black
  • Patrolling While Black

    Gordon Grant's nearly 30 years as a Spokane cop have been affected by race, but that's not the whole story
    • Jul 8, 2015
  • Where School Bonds Go to Die
  • Where School Bonds Go to Die

    Central Valley School District's bond and levy package wouldn't increase property taxes a dime — but don't tell that to Duane Alton
    • Feb 5, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation