Love Canal: A Toxic History from Colonial Times to the Present by Richard S. Newman
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Overview: In the spring of 1978, citizens of Love Canal, a suburban development in Niagara Falls, NY, began protesting against the leaking toxic waste dump ― a sixteen acre site containing 100,000 barrels of chemical waste ― upon which their homes, elementary school, and backyards stood. The Love Canal citizens’ movement represented a different brand of environmental reform. Rather than focusing on resource conservation and preservation of natural spaces, Love Canal reformers advocated environmental justice. By the early 1980s, hundreds of local activists (many of them self-described "housewives-turned-activists") had forced two important initiatives from politicians and business leaders: government relocation of Love Canal families and government/industry remediation of the dump itself. Love Canal activists also spurred passage of the Superfund law at the federal level, "Right to Know" statutes at the state level, and a wave of copycat citizen-environmentalist groups in communities across the country (so-called NIMBYs: "Not In My Backyard" environmentalists). Nearly thirty years after making international headlines, Love Canal remains a watchword of hazardous waste reform and one of the most significant environmental disasters in American history.
Genre: Non-Fiction > History