The Woman Who Went to Jail to Protect Her Daughter From Toxic Polluters

October 30, 2000

In 1996, Vice President Al Gore made a campaign stop in East Liverpool, Ohio, where he promised to shut down a controversial dioxin-producing incinerator just yards from an elementary school. Terri Swearingen’s daughter attended that school, and as the months and years wore on after Clinton and Gore’s re-election and still the incinerator remained open, Swearingen began shadowing the Vice President with one stark question: when will that campaign promise be kept? She was arrested nine times, once in the White House.

Swearingen’s tireless environmental and public health activism has gained her wide attention. Her battles on behalf of often disenfranchised communities led to her being awarded the prestigious Goldman Prize for environmental activism in 1997. She spoke about her battles around the East Liverpool incinerator at last week’s Bioneers Conference.


  • Terri Swearingen