Love Canal has come to signify the environmental contamination of a community. Since 1978, it has been a symbol in the fight for clean communities across the nation and for the belief that the fight can be won. Worldwide, the notoriety of Love Canal has kept the grassroots environmental movement alive, encouraging residents’ awareness of and mobilization against neighborhood contamination from chemical landfills and their perceived health threats.

The envisioning of Love Canal began in 1898 when William T. Love, a land developer from Knoxville, Tennessee, developed a plan to build the canal and transform Niagara Falls into an economic power for the 20th century. Love proposed a model city in which his goal was to harness waterfalls to generate electricity that would attract ...

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