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Idaho's Foulest Polluters Recognized


On May 12, the Environmental Protection Agency released its annual list of the most prolific polluters in each state-with a few familiar faces popping up. The largest total polluter was U.S. Ecology, formerly Envirosafe (both names are laughably ironic), a toxic waste dump in a decommissioned Titan missile silo outside of Grand View, about 50 miles from Boise. In 1973, the State of Idaho permitted Western Containment to use the site for clandestine pesticide disposal, and it has been an environmental sore spot ever since-most recently to the tune of 30,522,285 pounds of toxic waste in 2003, the most recent year covered by the list. Mining facilities came in second, third and fourth on the list: Hecla's Lucky Friday Mine near Coeur d'Alene dumped 8.9 million pounds of waste, Coeur Silver Valley mine in Wallace took the bronze with 6.1 million pounds, and P4 Production's phosphate facility in Caribou County was responsible out 4.3 million pounds.

In terms of element-specific awards, the worst water polluter in Idaho was McCain Foods in Burley, which unleased 2.3 million pounds of waste; the defunct Simplot food plant in Heyburn, 1.6 million; and Swift Beef in Nampa, 349,789. For air polluters, Amalgamated Sugar in Paul led with 949,617 pounds of air emissions, nearly a third of all air pollution in the state; Potlatch in Lewiston was second with 868,575 pounds, including 100 percent of our dose of the carcinogen dioxin; and Amalgamated Sugar in Nampa and Twin Falls farted out 300,430 and 217,508 pounds, respectively. The complete report is viewable at