Community Member

LEAD Agency

Miami, Oklahoma

Local Environmental Action Demanded (LEAD) Agency was formed in 1997 to educate the Miami, OK community on environmental concerns and act against environmental hazards. The area is home to the Tar Creek Superfund Site, one of the nation’s largest and most complex. A century’s worth of mining-related waste has left hazardous substances, particularly cadmium, lead, and zinc, in Tar Creek, which has twice been named one of America’s “Top 10 Most Endangered Rivers.” Tar Creek flows through Miami, the capital of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma and home to nine federally recognized tribes. The community has been historically impacted by flooding – 250 homes were affected by contaminated floodwaters in 2019 in Miami alone – and flooding is expected to escalate due to climate change. LEAD Agency demands the EPA, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and the State of Oklahoma develop a cleanup plan that protects Tar Creek and the health of local Indigenous communities and other residents. 

Flooding of the Neosho River throughout northern Craig and Ottawa Counties.

Local Environmental Action Demanded Agency is a nonprofit dedicated to protecting its community in response to the dire environmental hazards they face as the result of its proximity to the Tar Creek Superfund Site. The site has contaminated Tar Creek with a century’s worth of hazardous substances, which regular flooding carries into Miami, the capital of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma. In the years since its founding, LEAD Agency has educated community members and regulators about the dangers posed by the Superfund site through door-to-door surveys, an interactive flood map of the area, and its annual Tar Creek Conference. LEAD Agency is led by a seven member team and has forged collaborations with higher education institutions and other environmental organizations including the Thriving Earth Exchange and the Waterkeeper Alliance. With climate change exacerbating the threat of flooding, LEAD Agency continues to work to protect Tar Creek and the community that surrounds it.

For more information:

Rebecca Jim Fights to Reduce the Impact of Flooding, Pollution on Her City and Local Tribes; Advocate faces environmental harms, inequities head-on in quest for a safer Northeast Oklahoma – Pew Trusts, June 2023

How inland America is adapting to high water – Grist, June 2022

Do Gooder: The Legacy of Tar Creek – Sierra Magazine, December 2021

Making Sure the Next Flood Isn’t a Tragedy – The Morning Consult, December 2021

Environmental whistleblower sounds alarm again – The Joplin Globe, October 2021

Tar Creek Remade: Taking on 120 years of environmental injustice at an Oklahoma Superfund site – Harvard University Graduate University of Design, June 2021

The Rights of Tar Creek in Miami, Oklahoma: An Interview with Rebecca Jim of LEAD Agency – Center for Democratic and Environmental Rights

A2 Staff

A2 Staff

This profile was compiled by a dedicated team of staff members who conducted interviews and gathered information from various outlets, including news articles, social media, and other sources.


Rebecca Jim


Social Media

Climate Impacts

Flooding, Water Contamination


Community Farm/Gardens, Elevation or Relocation of Homes, Fighting Industrial Contamination, Halting Bad Development, Nature-Based Solutions, Rights of Nature

501c3 Tax Deductible


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