Love Canal, Carter Administration and the

The contamination of Love Canal set a precedent for future disaster relief and led to the start of the Superfund program in 1980. This U.S. Army Corps of Engineers official was inspecting a polluted lagoon during a 1982–84 Superfund cleanup in Bridgeport, New Jersey.

Photo credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineer

Love Canal was a little-known suburb of Buffalo, New York, before its clash with the U.S. government made international news in 1978. The residents’ battle for protection against the toxic waste that plagued their community played a pivotal role in shaping America's environmental policy and philosophy. The struggles of Love Canal led the Carter administration to redefine what is considered a disaster, pass Superfund legislation, and might have cost Jimmy Carter the presidency. Its effect on ...

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