Guide to the Save Our Summers Records 1975-2004
Cage 749

Summary Information

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries
Save Our Summers
Save Our Summers Records
Cage 749
Date [bulk]
Bulk, 1990-2002
Date [inclusive]
1975-2004 1990-2002
28.0 boxes
General Physical Description note
15 Linear feet of shelf space
Save Our Summers (SOS), a nonprofit environmental advocacy group, was organized in 1995 to raise public awareness about the environmental and health hazards of the agricultural practice of grass burning, and to strengthen regulations to protect public health and air quality. The records of Save Our Summers include administrative files, press clipping files about field burning and the group's advocacy activities, research files, and litigation files with materials related to lawsuits brought by SOS.

Preferred Citation note

[Item Description] Save Our Summers records, 1975-2004

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries, Pullman, WA.

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Biographical/Historical note

Save Our Summers (SOS), a nonprofit environmental advocacy group, was organized in 1995 to raise public awareness about the environmental and health hazards of the agricultural practice of grass burning, and to strengthen regulations to protect public health and air quality. SOS was originally formed in response to practices in Spokane County, WA, and subsequently expanded its area of concern to include wheat stubble burning in the Palouse region.

Patricia Hoffman, a retired veterinarian, founded this nonprofit volunteer organization in Spokane. SOS recruited volunteers through membership drives, advertisements in local newspapers, and public meetings. Many members and their families had personally experienced health problems linked to smoke and emissions from agricultural burning. SOS challenged government agencies and farmers to more effectively regulate, reduce, and halt the practice. SOS pursued these goals by holding meetings, writing letters, lobbying government officials, circulating petitions, distributing educational literature, and initiating legal action.

At about the same time, the Clean Air Coalition (CAC) organized separately in Sandpoint, ID, to address similar agricultural burning on the Rathdrum prairie. The two groups made attempts to work together, but because most of the local organizing happened at neighborhood meetings, the geographical separation was problematic. Another group, Safe Air For Everyone (SAFE), was organized in 2001 following some of the worst burns on the Rathdrum prairie. SOS and SAFE worked cooperatively, using the court system in their efforts to end agricultural burning in the region.

SOS filed lawsuits challenging government actions and public policies in Washington and Idaho. In 1999, the group initiated three lawsuits against Washington State Department of Ecology (DOE), and in 2000 filed suit against two State of Idaho departments, Agriculture and Environmental Quality.

SOS filed its first case in Thurston County (WA) Superior Court, the jurisdiction in which the Washington DOE headquarters is located, on March 19, 1999. SOS claimed that DOE had violated the state Clean Air Act by making a voluntary agreement in the form of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Washington Association of Wheat Growers (WAWG) to reduce pollution from field burning. SOS also alleged that the agency violated state rulemaking requirements and failed to fully consider the human and environmental health consequences of this agreement. Judge Richard Hicks observed that he failed to see how an agreement that moved growers in the direction of less burning was harmful. The courts also ruled that since the MOU between DOE and WAWG was a voluntary agreement, failure to reach the goals stated in the MOU were not punishable offenses.

The second suit was filed in Thurston County Superior Court on August 11, 1999. SOS alleged that DOE was in violation of the state Open Records Act for failing to disclose key documents relevant to reduction of agricultural burning. Specifically at issue was a report by the WAWG about their public relations plan to garner support for their deal with DOE. DOE was cleared of wrongdoing, but the judge ruled that SOS was correct in filing the suit and ordered DOE to pay SOS's court costs and legal fees. The judge also directed SOS and DOE to reach an agreement on any additional documents requested by SOS.

The third suit, initiated by SOS with families from Whitman County, WA and Kootenai County, ID, was filed in U.S. District Court in October 1999. They sought an immediate halt to field burning. SOS argued that DOE was in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). They argued that by failing to regulate the smoke generated by wheat-stubble burning, DOE was preventing access to public resources by people suffering from respiratory diseases severely aggravated by the smoke. A final ruling was delayed several times as the judge waited to hear from the U. S. Department of Justice over the question of jurisdiction in the case. Ultimately, SOS and all other parties in the suit agreed to resolution through a mediation process.

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Scope and Contents note

The records of Save Our Summers include administrative files, press clipping files about field burning and the group's advocacy activities, research files, and litigation files with materials related to lawsuits brought by SOS.

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Arrangement note

This collection generally retains its original order, with a few adjustments made during processing to facilitate research use. It is organized in five series:

Series 1: Administrative files, 1995-2002. Includes meeting minutes, mailing lists, newsletters, petitions, grant applications, correspondence, and press files.

Series 2: Research files, 1975-2004 (bulk 1990-2000). Primarily collected material, including agricultural data, articles, reports, and studies on agricultural burning practices and health effects.

Series 3: Washington State Department of Ecology, 1989-2002. Includes records of SOS interactions with the Department of Ecology, interactions with others about the department, and collected materials about the department.

Series 4: Litigation files, 1996-2002. Includes copies of court documents and supporting materials related to SOS litigation: correspondence, research, affidavits, exhibits, and press clippings.

Series 5: Photographs and audiovisual media, 1992-2003. Photographs documenting agricultural burning in the Palouse region, audio recordings of hearings, and video recordings of news broadcasts, committee meetings, and documentary presentations.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries © 2016
Terrell Library
P.O. Box 645610
Pullman, WA, 99164-5610

Conditions Governing Access note

This collection is open and available for research use.

Conditions Governing Use note

Copyright restrictions apply.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

The records of Save Our Summers (SOS) were donated to the Washington State University Libraries by Patti Gora in 2008 (MS 2008-21).

Processing Information note

This collection was processed by Lee Ann Powell in 2010.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Save Our Summers -- Records and correspondence.


  • Air quality management -- Idaho.
  • Air quality management -- Washington (State)
  • Burning of land -- Health aspects -- Idaho.
  • Burning of land -- Health aspects -- Washington (State)
  • Environmental Activism
  • Environmental Conditions
  • Environmental protection -- Idaho.
  • Environmental protection -- Washington (State)
  • Idaho
  • Laws and Legislation
  • Pressure groups -- Idaho.
  • Pressure groups -- Washington (State)
  • Smoke -- Physiological effect -- Idaho.
  • Smoke -- Physiological effect -- Washington (State)
  • Washington (State)

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Collection Inventory

Series 1: Administrative Files, 1995-2002 

Box Folder

Bylaws, undated 

1 1

Chronology narrative, undated 

1 2

Meeting minutes, 1995-2002 

1 3

Financial records, 1995-2001 

1 4

Flyers, 1995, 1996, 1998, and undated 

1 5

Newsletters, 1995-2002 

1 6

Contact lists, 2001 and undated 

1 7

Bullitt Foundation grant, 1995-1999 

1 8

Grants, 1995-1999 

1 9

Bullitt Foundation annual reports, 1995-1996 

1 10

Grant applications, 2001 

1 11

Petition for limiting grass burning in Spokane County, undated 

1 12

Petition to ban grass burning, 1995 

1 13

Field burning pamphlet produced by SOS, undated 

1 14

Communications proposal, 2001 

1 15

Correspondence, 1995-1997 

1 16-18

Correspondence, 1998-2002 

2 19-23

"Strange correspondence," 1999 

2 24

Email correspondence, 1997, 1999-2003 

2 25-27

Overhead transparencies, undated 

2 28

Zahl letter to Jessernig, 1999 

2 29

Smoke complaints, 1996-1999 

2 30

Statements by Jeff Krautkraemer, undated 

2 31

Radio advertisements, 1999 

2 32

Negotiation handbook, 1999 

2 33

Planning and strategies for environmental groups, 1989-1999 

2 34

Smoke complaint logs, 1993-1995 

3 35

Smoke photographs and descriptions, 1999-2001 

3 36

Burn calls, 2000-2004 

3 37-40

Burn diaries, 1999 and undated 

3 41

Smoke victims, undated 

3 42

Records request submitted to Department of Ecology, 1998 

3 43

Trespassing charges filed against group members, 1998 

3 44

SOS press releases, 1991-2001 

3 45

SOS cereal grain best practices proposal, 1998 

3 46

SOS website, undated 

3 47

SOS grass research meeting presentation, undated 

3 48

Northwest air quality agencies, undated 

3 49

Kootenai County Clean Air Coalition (correspondence, grass burning survey, flyers, and organizational history), 1990-1991 

3 50

Clean Air Coalition (correspondence, meeting minutes, flyers), 1997 

3 51

Magazine articles on field burning, 1995 and 2000-2001 

3 52

Press clippings (Capital Press, Spokesman-Review, Evergreen Daily, Tri-City Herald, Lewiston Tribune, Bonner County Daily Bee, Pullman-Moscow News, The Coeur d 'Alene Press, and North Idaho Business Journal) 

Box Folder

1990-1997 and undated 

4 53-62


5 63-69


6 70-79
Box Folder

Notes on various topics including research, contact information, and litigation, undated 

7 80

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Series 2: Research Files, 1975-2004 (bulk 1990-2000) 

Box Folder

Capital Press Agriculture Weekly articles covering a wide range of agricultural topics, 1999-2002 

7 81-86

Health and agricultural burning (articles and studies), 1984-2004 

8 87-93

American Lung Association (pamphlets, correspondence, and articles), 1992-1998 

9 94

Spokane County Physicians letters of support for ending grass field burning, 1996-2001 

9 95-96

Washington State Cancer Registry annual report, 1997 

9 97

Report on premature mortality due to particulate pollution, 1996 

9 98

Results from Spokane Health Study, 1998 

9 99

Washington State Department of Health public health report, 1996 

9 100

Agronomy (papers and articles), 1995-2002 

9 101-102

Grass seed cropping systems (articles, reports, and conference proceedings), 1997-2003 

10 103-104

Direct seed intensive cropping conference (proceedings), 1998 

10 105

Biomass burn emissions (studies and articles), 1995-2001 

10 106-108

Weed and disease management articles, 1998 and 2000 

10 109

Tobacco Free Washington effective media interviews guide, 1995 

10 110

Washington State University Department of Crop and Soil Sciences field day proceedings, 1995 

10 111

No till-direct seed cropping (articles and studies), 1975-2003 

11 112-114

Public television appearance notes (KSPS: Mike Conley and Washington State University Grass Study), undated 

11 115

Farm Policy articles, 1995-2003 

11 116-118

Solid Fuel Burning Device Program annual reports, 1991-1999 

11 119

Hillyard rail yard hazardous waste burning site (report), 1995 

11 120

Agriculture economics papers, 1997-2000 

12 121-122

Grass seed (studies, reports, and articles), 1990-2001 

12 123-124

Columbia Plateau Wind Erosion-Air Quality Project reports, 1995-1998 

12 125-126

Conservation Tillage Columbia Basin case study newsletter, 1993 

12 127

Columbia Basin Agriculture Research annual report, 1995 

12 128

Palouse Co-operative River Basin Study report, 1978 

12 129

Solution to Environmental and Economic Problems (STEEP) water and soil protections program (news updates and reports), 1991-2000 

13 130-131

Air pollution and emissions from agricultural burning (articles, studies, and reports), 1977-2002 

13 132

Moses Lake Conservation District newsletters, 1989 and 1990 

13 133

"Where There's Smoke, There's Controversy--WSU involvement in grass burning, 1989-1997" (report), 1998 

13 134

Propane flaming and reduced fuel loading study, 1997 

13 135

Soil erosion (articles), 1989-1997 

13 136

Inland Northwest Field Burning Summit (correspondence, survey, and article), 1991-1993 

13 137

Agricultural Systems Assessment workshop and field tours (resource notebook), 1995 

13 138

Agriculture and Bio-diversity (electronic discussion list posts), 1999 

13 139

Wheat stubble burning thesis, 2001 

13 140

Residue data (1995-1998), 1998 

13 141

Chemical analysis of grass seed field straw (reports), 1993 and 1996 

13 142

Conservation Reserve Program (guide and report), 1994 and 1996 

13 143

The Nature Conservancy (article about group), 2003 

13 144

Washington State agricultural data, 1997-2001 

14 145

Washington State emissions data, 1994-2002 

14 146

Washington State University Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources (information about the center), 1999 

14 147

Spring-Winter canola production outline, undated 

14 148

Uses for wheat straw (article and study), 1997 and 2002 

14 149

Soil quality information sheet, 1996 

14 150

Fertilizer placement information, 1997 

14 151

U.S. Department of Agriculture pamphlet on soil conservation assistance, 1981 

14 152

Environmental justice (articles), 2000 

14 153

[not used] 

14 154

"Amber Waves of Gain" (article about the Farm Bureau), 2000 

14 155

Clean Air Acts (articles and text of legislation), 1990s 

14 156

Field burning in Oregon (data, reports, and articles), 1978-2002 

14 157

Oregon grass seed production reports, 1991-1994 

14 158

Idaho agricultural burning (Idaho Farm Bureau and Idaho Department of Ecology documents, smoke management plan, field burning hearings, and field burning reports), 1999-2002 

14 159-160

Idaho agricultural burning (continued) 

15 161-164

Agricultural burning in California (newsletter), 1980 

15 165

California rice straw (reports, handbook, burning information), 1997-2000 

15 166-167

12 Hour back trajectories maps (Washington and Idaho), 1999-2000 

15 168

Satellite smoke photographs (Washington and Idaho), 2001 

15 169

Coeur d 'Alene Tribe blue grass meeting (agenda, notes, and resolution), 1997 

15 170

Air pollution data from Spokane Crown Z and Turnbull Wildlife Refuge, 1997 

15 171

Spokane Valley-Rathdrum Prairie aquifer map, undated 

15 172

Spokane County Air Pollution Control authority (air pollution public opinion survey, regulations, newsletter, and meeting minutes), 1991-1999 

15 173-175

Spokane County agricultural burning data and regulations, 1997-1998 

15 176

Whitman and Latah counties air quality data, 2000 

16 177

Whitman County burn permits (application, reports, and permits), 1999 and 2001 

16 178-179

Steve Mader burn enforcement case (photographs, notes, correspondence, reports, and permits), 1995-2002 

16 180-182

Board of Whitman County Commissioners (correspondence and meeting minutes on field burning), 1998-1999 

16 183

Environmental Protection Agency (review of burn permit program, newsletters, best practices guide, stakeholder forums, burn strategy, pollutant standards index, ambient air quality standards, air quality criteria for particulate matter, air quality report 

16 184-186

Environmental Protection Agency (continued) 

17 186.1

Environmental Protection Agency Spokane hearing notes, 2000 

17 187

Upper Columbia River Sierra Club newsletter, 1998 

17 188

Washington Conservation Voters Grass Burning Survey, undated 

17 189

[not used] 

17 190-198

Tri-State Perennial Grass Seed Working Group (meeting minutes and program review report), 1993 

17 199

Grass Seed Cropping Systems for a Sustainable Agriculture 4th annual conference (member list and conference proceedings), 1997 

17 200

Intermountain Grass Growers Association (correspondence regarding grass burning and report on the utilization of grass straw), 1975 and 1995 

17 201

Franklin county notice of intent to burn, 2000 

17 202

Department of Natural Resources burn management plan, 1995 

17 203

Permitted burn acreage (charts, data, and reports), 1992, 1995, 2001-2002 

17 204

Agricultural burn permit summary, 1996 and 1998 

17 205

Post burn reports, 1998 

17 206

Agricultural burn enforcement data, 1999-2000 

17 207

Washington State agricultural burning laws and bills; 1989, 1999-2000 

17 208

Yakima County Clean Air Authority emission standards data, undated 

17 209

Washington State Association of Wheat Growers (group finances, correspondence, press releases, press clippings, resolutions, and annual meeting proceedings, and newsletter articles), 1994-2001 

17 210-212

Research notes (author unidentified; various topics related to field burning and SOS), undated 

17 213

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Series 3: Washington State Department of Ecology, 1989-2002 

Box Folder

Correspondence (incoming, outgoing, and internal), 1989-2001 

18 214-217

Press releases, 1998-2000 

18 218

Agricultural Burning Practices and Research Task Force (meeting minutes and agendas, task force history, workshop schedule, correspondence, reports, and member lists), 1992-2002 

18 219-222

Agriculture Burning Practices and Research Task Force (continued) 

19 223

Project description and work plan for best practices manual, 2001 

19 224

Grass seed field burning alternative certification, 1998 and 2006 

19 225

Burning responsiveness report, 1995 

19 226

Lawrence Peterson harassment charge 

19 227

Tom Fitzsimmons remarks at wheat growers convention, 1998 

19 228

Research on alternatives to field burning, 1998 

19 229

Budget and program overview report, 2000 

19 230

Agricultural burn permit program audit, 2000 

19 231

Agricultural burning evaluation panel (meeting agenda and reports), 2002 

19 232-233

Burn penalty summaries, 1999-2000 

20 234

Burn information (requirements, restrictions, and applications), 1990-2001 

20 235

Symposium on particulate matter (presenter information), 2000 

20 236

Air quality data, 2002 

20 237

Alternatives to burning grant proposals, 2002 

20 238-239

Air quality program (brochure, plans, report, and notes), 1995 and 2000-2001 

20 240

Public outreach and education (brochures), 2002 

20 241

Environmental Protection Agency review of burn program (correspondence and reports), 1999-2000 

20 242

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Series 4: Litigation Files, 1996-2002 

Box Folder

Washington grass seed field burning emergency rule, 1999 

20 243

Request to Environmental Protection Agency for review of field burning, 1999 

20 244

Save Our Summers suit against Department of Ecology, challenging memorandum of understanding with Washington Association of Wheat Growers (court documents, MOU drafts, correspondence, reports, testimony, and supporting evidence), 1997-1999 

20 245-247

Save Our Summers suit against Department of Ecology (continued) 

21 248-249

National Environmental Education Foundation report on Wheat Growers-Department of Ecology MOU controversy, 2000 

21 250

Save Our Summers nondisclosure suit against Department of Ecology (court documents, timeline of SOS pursuit of missing documents, lists of Freedom of Information Act document requests, correspondence, and supporting evidence, primarily DOE correspondence) 

21 251-252

Save Our Summers Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) suit against Department of Ecology (court documents, affidavits, exhibits, notes, witness lists, reports, and Department of Ecology exhibits and evidence), 1999-2001 

21 253-255

ADA suit (continued) 

22 256-262

ADA suit (continued) 

23 263-264

Mediation and settlement agreements between SOS and DOE (correspondence and mediation and agreement documents), 2000-2001 

23 265

Save Our Summers rule request for stubble burning (correspondence, drafts of rule request), 2000-2001 

23 266

Clean Air Act and environmental protection cases, United States Supreme Court, 2000 

23 267

Supreme Court ADA cases, 2001 and 2002 

23 268

Save Our Summers v. State of Idaho (court documents, correspondence, and exhibits), 2000 and 2002 

23 269-270

SOS v. Idaho (continued) 

24 271-272

Litigation research organized for an unidentified case, 1996-2000 

24 273-276

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Series 5: Photographs and audiovisual media, 1992-2003 


Photographs showing smoke from agricultural burning on the Palouse, 1998-2003 and undated 


Audiocassettes of hearings on agricultural burning, 1990-1996 and undated 


Video recordings (VHS format; newscasts, committee meetings, and agricultural burning information), 1992-1998 and undated 


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