Retired, Senior Scientist, Greenpeace International; Science Advisor, International POPs Elimination Network; Science Advisor, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives
Pat Costner began her career as an advocacy scientist in 1978, serving as a founder and staff scientist of the National Water Center in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. After writing the book, “We All Live Downstream,” published in 1986, she joined Greenpeace USA as Research Director of the Toxics Campaign. In 1995, she became Senior Scientist with the Greenpeace International Science Unit and served as an expert in various international fora, including the Stockholm Convention BAT/BEP Expert Group, the Basel Convention Open Ended Work Group, and the Stockholm Convention Dioxin Toolkit Expert Group.
Costner is author and co-author of numerous scientific papers and reports on incineration and other waste disposal technologies as well as the formation, fate and effects of dioxins and other persistent organic pollutants. Her reports on non-combustion technologies have provided impetus for consideration of such technologies in destroying stockpiles of persistent organic pollutants. Her work has influenced waste management and chemical production practices, policies and regulations at state, national, regional and international levels.
Since retiring from Greenpeace in 2004, Costner has served as Science Advisor to the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), a network of more than 650 non-governmental organizations, and the International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN), a worldwide network of over 700 public interest health and environmental organizations.
A native Arkansan, Costner has also played an active role in local and state issues. For example, her scientific and policy arguments contributed to the withdrawal of two proposals with potentially detrimental impacts on water quality in the Ozarks’ karst terrain – land application of industrial wastes and disposal of poultry slaughterhouse waste via septic tank/leachfield. She brought to public attention the use of herbicides by a regional rural electric cooperative and the potential impacts on water quality.
Costner is a founder and Director of Save the Ozarks, the citizens group that is intervening before the Arkansas Public Service Commission in opposition to SWEPCO’s proposal to construct a 345 kV transmission line through the Ozark Highlands of Northwest Arkansas. Two of the proposed transmission line routes bisect the 135-acre forest that has been her homeplace for the past forty years.
Costner holds a B.S. in chemistry and mathematics and an M.S. in organic chemistry with further graduate study in physical organic chemistry. Early in her career, she was a research chemist with Shell Oil Company and Syntex Corporation and owner/director of Owltree Laboratory, a laboratory for water and wastewater analysis.