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Welcome to PSR's Environmental Health Policy Institute, where we ask questions -- then we ask the experts to answer them. Join us as physicians, health professionals, and environmental health experts share their ideas, inspiration, and analysis about toxic chemicals and environmental health policy.


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Barbara A. Evans

Barbara Evans has a long history working for positive change. For 5 years she coordinated workforce development programs with US Steel in Gary, Indiana and in Martinsville, Virginia and Macon, Georgia. Following those successes, she was employed with both Georgia and Alabama Legal Services Programs as a project coordinator, paralegal and trainer of new attorneys. Barbara was a regular lecturer at the Walter F. George School of Law and under the supervision of attorneys, she specialized in administrative and disability law.

Barbara left Georgia Legal Services to become a labor organizer, working with the United Electrical Workers, United Auto Workers and the Alabama AFL-CIO. Assigned to the southeast, Barbara negotiated contracts, organized new units and lobbied on local, state and federal levels. She specialized in settling agreements between employees and industry that satisfied both parties.

Barbara moved to Alabama in 1990 while working with the United Electrical Workers. Despite her plan to “roll” with the union, she fell in love with Lowndes County, Alabama and set down roots. In 2001 she founded a nonprofit statewide consumer education and advocacy organization called Alabama Watch and through her lobbying efforts at the Alabama State Legislature helped get the Baby Douglas bill passed, stopped legislation that took rights away from nursing home residents, and helped pass Alabama’s new Landlord Tenant laws. She is a member of the Alabama Legislative Task Force on the Open Records Task Force helped with the new Open Meetings Act, and serves as a lobbyist and consultant to environmental and community organizations.

In 2006, Barbara joined WildLaw, a nonprofit environmental law firm based in Montgomery, Alabama to head up the Alabama organizing effort, and worked with community groups on environmental issues. She teaches citizen advocacy and has continued her work with the Alabama State Legislature. Last session, 2011, she was instrumental in getting a 2-year moratorium on large landfills passed in the Legislature. Barbara retired from WildLaw in the summer of 2011 but continues to work with groups in Alabama’s Blackbelt.

Barbara is one of the founders of Lowndes Citizens United for Action, and Blackbelt Citizens Fighting for Health and Justice (Perry County), and currently serves as Technical Advisor. She writes and publishes a community column, “Esther’s Trumpet,” carried in four Blackbelt weekly newspapers, and operates a rural art and civil rights history center called Annie Mae’s Place, where Barbara’s annual community event, the Alabama Okra Festival, is held on the last Saturday in August.


Alabama's Blackbelt Region: A land forgotten, contaminated by coal ash, March 2, 2012