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Love Canal Case Study Ppt Examples

6.5 Case Study: The Love Canal Disaster

One of the most famous and important examples of groundwater pollution in the U.S. is the Love Canal tragedy in Niagara Falls, New York. It is important because the pollution disaster at Love Canal, along with similar pollution calamities at that time (Times Beach, Missouri and Valley of Drums, Kentucky), helped to create Superfund, a federal program instituted in 1980 and designed to identify and clean up the worst of the hazardous chemical waste sites in the U.S.

Love Canal is a neighborhood in Niagara Falls named after a large ditch (approximately 15 m wide, 3–12 m deep, and 1600 m long) that was dug in the 1890s for hydroelectric power. The ditch was abandoned before it actually generated any power and went mostly unused for decades, except for swimming by local residents. In the 1920s Niagara Falls began dumping urban waste into Love Canal, and in the 1940s the U.S. Army dumped waste from World War II there, including waste from the frantic effort to build a nuclear bomb. Hooker Chemical purchased the land in 1942 and lined it with clay. Then, the company put into Love Canal an estimated 21,000 tons of hazardous chemical waste, including the carcinogens benzene, dioxin, and PCBs in large metal barrels and covered them with more clay. In 1953, Hooker sold the land to the Niagara Falls school board for $1, and included a clause in the sales contract that both described the land use (filled with chemical waste) and absolved them from any future damage claims from the buried waste. The school board promptly built a public school on the site and sold the surrounding land for a housing project that built 200 or so homes along the canal banks and another 1,000 in the neighborhood (Figure 1). During construction, the canal’s clay cap and walls were breached, damaging some of the metal barrels.

Figure 1. Love Canal. Source: US Environmental Protection Agency

Eventually, the chemical waste seeped into people’s basements, and the metal barrels worked their way to the surface. Trees and gardens began to die; bicycle tires and the rubber soles of children’s shoes disintegrated in noxious puddles. From the 1950s to the late 1970s, residents repeatedly complained of strange odors and substances that surfaced in their yards. City officials investigated the area, but did not act to solve the problem. Local residents allegedly experienced major health problems including high rates of miscarriages, birth defects, and chromosome damage, but studies by the New York State Health Department disputed that. Finally, in 1978 President Carter declared a state of emergency at Love Canal, making it the first human-caused environmental problem to be designated that way. The Love Canal incident became a symbol of improperly stored chemical waste. Clean up of Love Canal, which was funded by Superfund and completely finished in 2004, involved removing contaminated soil, installing drainage pipes to capture contaminated groundwater for treatment, and covering it with clay and plastic. In 1995, Occidental Chemical (the modern name for Hooker Chemical) paid $102 million to Superfund for cleanup and $27 million to Federal Emergency Management Association for the relocation of more than 1,000 families. New York State paid $98 million to EPA and the US government paid $8 million for pollution by the Army. The total clean up cost was estimated to be $275 million.

The Love Canal tragedy helped to create Superfund, which has analyzed tens of thousands of hazardous waste sites in the U.S. and cleaned up hundreds of the worst ones. Nevertheless, over 1,000 major hazardous waste sites with a significant risk to human health or the environment are still in the process of being cleaned.

Attribution

Essentials of Environmental Science by Kamala Doršner is licensed under CC BY 4.0. Modified from the original by Matthew R. Fisher.

Overview

While many environmental disasters, such as earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, and at times wildfires, lie beyond human control, hazardous waste catastrophes are caused by people. The first significant case concerning toxic waste disposal and exposure, corporate and civic responsibilities and liabilities, and significant governmental policies and responses to such emergencies occurred in the Love Canal Hazardous Waste Disaster.

In these two lessons the students will analyze and assess the origins and development of the causes, controversies, and conflicts that occurred in the Love Canal hazardous waste disaster as well as the assignment of responsibility and the resolution of liability for this catastrophe which occurred in Niagara Falls, New York in the late 20th century. Through the thought-provoking framework and lens of the following two evaluative "essential questions," the pupils will examine, explain, and evaluate the origins, ordeals, and outcomes that were encountered and experienced by the citizens, city, corporation(s), and courts that were embroiled in this environmental calamity:

(1) Who was primarily responsible and liable for the Love Canal hazardous waste disaster (the corporation or the city)? (Lesson 1)

(2) To what extent did the federal and state governments respond effectively and justly to the Love Canal hazardous waste disaster? (Lesson 2)

Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Analyze and assess the text of primary source and scholarly document excerpts by identifying, summarizing, and evaluating the evidence concerning the extent to which the Hooker Chemical and Plastics Corporation and Occidental Chemical Corporation were responsible and liable for causing the Love Canal toxic chemical disaster. (Lesson 1)
  • Analyze and assess the text of primary and scholarly document excerpts by identifying, summarizing , and evaluating the evidence concerning the extent to which the City of Niagara Falls and the Niagara Falls Board of Education were responsible and liable for causing the Love Canal toxic chemical disaster.

(Lesson 1)

  • Develop (take a position), evaluate (draw a conclusion), and present a viewpoint on Lesson 1’s "essential question": Who was primarily responsible and liable for the Love Canal hazardous waste disaster (the corporation or the city)?
  • Analyze and assess the text of primary source and scholarly document excerpts by identifying, summarizing, and evaluating the evidence concerning the extent to which the federal and New York state governments responded effective and justly to the Love Canal toxic chemical disaster.

(Lesson 2)

  • Develop (take a position), evaluate (draw a conclusion), and present a viewpoint on Lesson 2’s "essential question": To what extent did the federal and state governments respond effectively and justly to the Love Canal hazardous waste disaster?
  • Expand their knowledge of unfamiliar vocabulary words by determining and reasoning the meanings of selected unfamiliar vocabulary words from their context and usage in the documents. (Such a learning activity enhances the students’ skills as effective communicators and collaborative team members.)

Suggested Instructional Time

Two one-hour instructional periods for each lesson. The Application Activity would require additional time.

Grade Level

9–12 (especially students on the Honors and Advanced Placement levels)

Standards

Common Core Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.1: Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.2: Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.3: Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.4: Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary describing political, social, or economic aspects of history/social studies.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.6: Compare the point of view of two or more for how they treat the same or similar topics, including which details they include and emphasize in their respective accounts.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.8: Assess the extent to which the reasoning and evidence in a text support the author’s claims.

College Board Historical Thinking Skills: Advanced Placement US History Course

  • Skill 1 - Historical Causation:
    Compare causes and/or effects, including between short- and long-term effects.
    Analyze and evaluate the interaction of multiple causes and/or effects.
  • Skill 2 - Patterns of Continuity and Change over Time:
    Analyze and evaluate historical patterns of continuity and change over time.
  • Skill 4 - Comparison:
    Explain and evaluate multiple and differing perspectives on a given historical phenomenon.
  • Skill 6 - Historical Argumentation:
    Construct convincing interpretations through analysis of disparate, relevant historical evidence.
    Evaluate and synthesize conflicting historical evidence to construct persuasive historical arguments.
  • Skill 7 - Appropriate Use of Relevant Historical Evidence:
    Based on analysis and evaluation of historical evidence, make supportable inferences and draw appropriate conclusions.
  • Skill 8 - Interpretation:
    Analyze diverse historical interpretations.
  • Skill 9 - Synthesis:
    Compare disparate, sometimes contradictory evidence from primary sources and secondary works in order to create a persuasive understanding of the past. 
    Apply insights about the past to other historical contexts or circumstances, including the present.

Historical Context

Amid the "rush and roar" of Niagara Falls in western New York State is a thirty-six-square-block neighborhood known as the Love Canal. In the late nineteenth century, a venture capitalist, William T. Love, began to dig a canal, six to seven miles long, that would ultimately link the Niagara River to Lake Ontario and provide water and cheap hydroelectric power for a proposed "modern industrial city." Love’s plan envisioned a model urban area that integrated factories and a community of residential homes and parks near Lake Ontario. However, the economic depression of the 1890s, sparked by the Panic of 1893, the limitations of direct current power, and the introduction of Nikola Tesla’s alternating current and the development of long-distance high-voltage transmission, which obviated the need for industry to be closely located near the source of power, undermined Love’s plans and resulted in the abandonment of this project as investors withdrew their financial support before the turn of the twentieth century. The dimensions of this unfinished canal extended about 3,000 feet in length and slightly less than 100 feet in width, and terminated about 1,500 feet from the Niagara River with varying depths of 10 to 40 feet. Before the project’s funds were depleted, several streets and a series of homes had also been built, and the local residents utilized the abandoned canal as a swimming hole in the summer and an ice-skating rink in the winter during the opening decades of the twentieth century.

During the 1920s, the Love Canal became a municipal dump site for the City of Niagara Falls. In 1942, the Hooker Chemical and Plastics Corporation purchased the land, drained the canal, and lined the area (both walls and cap) with a thick layer of clay. For the next ten-plus years, Hooker dumped a large amount of hazardous waste materials (approximately 21,800 tons with at least 200 different chemicals in barrels at depths of 20 to 25 feet) into the canal. The City of Niagara Falls continued to dump refuse there until 1948. The United States Army also utilized this site for the disposal of chemical warfare materials (from World War II) and possibly refuse from the Manhattan Project. Between 1948 and 1953, the Hooker Chemical and Plastics Corporation became the sole user of this landfill site.

In 1953, the Hooker Corporation transferred ownership of the entire property to the Niagara Falls Board of Education for the sum of one dollar. At the time, the City of Niagara Falls was experiencing an economic and demographic boom and needed land to build new schools. At the Hooker Corporation’s insistence, this purchase agreement contained a caveat that explained the possible dangers of building on this landfill site and a release from all legal obligations and liabilities should any lawsuits develop in the future. Despite these disclaimers, two public elementary schools and playgrounds were constructed on the Love Canal property in 1954 and 1955. The City of Niagara Falls also built several sewer beds, water lines, and highway extensions. Additionally, during the mid-1950s, parcels of land were sold by the City of Niagara Falls to private land developers for home-building directly adjacent to the landfill. During these construction projects, the canal’s clay seals were broken and clay walls were breached by construction crews.

As time passed, during the next two decades, chemical odors and residues from the Love Canal landfill began to leach through the soil, contaminate underground pipes and cinder-block foundations, leak into residents’ basements, surface in backyards, and pollute the air. In 1977 and 1978, the local newspaper, the Niagara Gazette, investigated these circumstances and published a series of articles, citing incidents of cancer, physical anomalies, birth defects, and various illnesses and injuries to residents and their pets. In 1978, the New York State Health Department began a series of health and environmental studies in the Love Canal community and subsequently confirmed that a serious public-health hazard existed, including exposure to toxic chemicals in and around homes. As a result, the governor of New York, Hugh Carey, declared a state health emergency. These dangers and findings were also confirmed in tests conducted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. In August 1978, President Jimmy Carter declared a federal state of emergency at Love Canal. Amid growing fears about possible chromosome damage and proclivity for cancer, birth defects, and respiratory maladies, and widespread national media coverage, controversy and conflicts developed between Love Canal residents and state and federal government officials concerning the eligibility and extent of evacuation, relocation, reimbursement, and remediation regarding this environmental and physical calamity.

Numerous lawsuits were filed in New York state and federal courts by Love Canal residents, the State of New York, and the federal government against the Hooker Chemical and Plastics Corporation and its parent companies, Occidental Chemical Corporation and Occidental Petroleum Corporation, for compensatory and punitive damages. In addition, in 1980, Congress enacted the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), which enabled the federal government to clean up hazardous waste sites and seek redress for the clean-up costs from the responsible parties and established a special trust fund ("Superfund") to finance these initiatives, including the permanent relocation of all Love Canal residents into new homes.

In these two lessons the students will analyze and assess the origins and development of the causes, controversies, and conflicts that occurred in the Love Canal hazardous-waste disaster as well as the assignment of responsibility and the resolution of liability for this catastrophe through the framework and lenses of two thought-provoking essential questions:

  • In Lesson 1, the pupils will examine and evaluate: Who was primarily responsible and liable for the Love Canal hazardous waste disaster (the corporation or the city)?
  • In Lesson 2, the students will analyze and assess: To what extent did the federal and state governments respond effectively and justly to the Love Canal hazardous waste disaster?

Materials

  • Document Excerpts
          Lesson 1:
    1. Historical Background and Devlopment of the Love Canal Toxic Chemical Disaster.
    2. United States District Court Decision in the Case of the United States, the State of New York, and UDC-Love Canal, Inc. v. Hooker Chemical and Plastics Corporation et al., March 17, 1994.
    3. Bill of Sale and Transfer of Property Deed between the Hooker Electrochemical Company and the Board of Education of Niagara Falls, New York, April 28, 1953.
    4. Account of Niagara Gazette journalist Michael H. Brown in his reporting on and recollections of the Love Canal Toxic Chemical Disaster.
    5. Account of investigative journalist and historian Eric Zuesse on the Love Canal Toxic Chemical Disaster.

      Lesson 2
    1. Account of Eckardt C. Beck, Administrator of Region 2, United States Environmental Protection Agency, on his visit to Love Canal, August 1978.
    2. United States District Court Decision in the Case of the United States, the State of New York, and UDC-Love Canal, Inc. v. Hooker Chemicals Plastics Corporation et al., May 12, 1988.
    3. United States Department of Justice and Environmental Protection Agency, Press Release, December 21, 1995: Occidental Chemical Corporation’s Love Canal Settlement.
    4. United States District Court Decision in the Case of the United States, the State of New York, and UDC-Love Canal, Inc. v. Occidental Petroleum Corporation et al., May 30, 1997.
  • Timeline: Love Canal Hazardous Waste Disaster
  • Summary Organizers for Document Excerpts
  • "Exit Card" Written Response to Essential Question
  • Smartboard, whiteboard, overhead projector, or computer projector

Vocabulary

As students read, reflect, and discuss the text of the document excerpts for these two lessons, they may encounter some unfamiliar vocabulary. By having pupils collaborate in small groups, they can collectively attempt to reason out the meanings of many unfamiliar words from their context and usage in these reading selections. Such a learning activity would enhance the students’ skills as effective communicators and collaborative team members. As a final option, a pupil from each group could be assigned to consult a dictionary for unfamiliar vocabulary and then share the meaning(s) of those words with classmates in the group.

Examples of possible unfamiliar vocabulary from the text of these document excerpts could include the following words:

Doc. 1: (a) navigable, (b) municipal, (c) pesticide, (d) adjacent
Doc. 2: (a) negligent, (b) residue, (c) punitive, (d) compensatory
Doc. 3: (a) indenture, (b) conveyance
Doc. 4: (a) excavation, (b) periphery, (c) luminescence, (d) liability, (e) remedial
Doc. 5: (a) eminent domain, (b) precipitate
Doc. 6: (a) irony, (b) leach(ing), (c) evacuate, (d) detoxify
Doc. 7: (a) conduit, (b) migration, (c) summary judgment, (d) statutory (statute)
Doc. 8: (a) litigation
Doc. 9: (a) remediation, (b) covenant, (c) entity

Lesson 1

Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Analyze and assess the text of primary source and scholarly document excerpts by identifying, summarizing, and evaluating the evidence concerning the extent to which the Hooker Chemical and Plastics Corporation and Occidental Chemical Corporation were responsible and liable for causing the Love Canal toxic chemical disaster.
  • Analyze and assess the text of primary and scholarly document excerpts by identifying, summarizing , and evaluating the evidence concerning the extent to which the City of Niagara Falls and the Niagara Falls Board of Education were responsible and liable for causing the Love Canal toxic chemical disaster.
  • Develop (take a position), evaluate (draw a conclusion), and present a viewpoint on Lesson 1’s essential question: Who was primarily responsible and liable for the Love Canal hazardous waste disaster (the corporation or the city)?
  • Analyze and assess the text of primary source and scholarly document excerpts by identifying, summarizing, and evaluating the evidence concerning the extent to which the federal and New York State governments responded effective and justly to the Love Canal toxic chemical disaster.

Materials

  • Document Excerpts
    1. Historical Background and Development of the Love Canal Toxic Chemical Disaster.
    2. United States District Court Decision in the Case of the United States and the State of New York, and UDC-Love Canal, Inc. v. Hooker Chemical and Plastics Corporation et al., March 17, 1994.
    3. Bill of Sale and Transfer of Property Deed between the Hooker Electrochemical Company and the Board of Education of Niagara Falls, New York, April 28, 1953.
    4. Account of Niagara Gazette journalist Michael H. Brown on his reporting on and recollections of the Love Canal Toxic Chemical Disaster.
    5. Account of investigative journalist and historian Eric Zuesse on the Love Canal Toxic Chemical Disaster.
  • Timeline: Love Canal Hazardous Waste Disaster
  • Summary Organizers for Document Excerpts
  • "Exit Card" Written Response to Essential Questions
  • Smartboard, whiteboard, overhead projector, or computer projector

Procedure

  1. Divide the class into small heterogeneous groups of three to four students of varying abilities and levels of achievement. The teacher could also employ a cooperative-learning format for this lesson, and the students in each group could assume such designated roles as recorder, reporter, and scribe in their discussion, analysis, assessment, and presentation of the document evidence, main ideas, conclusions, and viewpoints to their classmates.
  2. Motivational Activity (optional): To enhance the students’ interest in the topic, theme, and texts of this lesson, play a brief video excerpt (total video length is eleven minutes) that can be accessed from the New York Times Retro Report. The video, "Love Canal: A Legacy of Doubt," is linked to the article "Love Canal and Its Mixed Legacy" (November 25, 2013) by Andrew C. Revkin, http://.nytimes.com/2013/11/25/booming/love-canal-and-its-mixed-legacy.html. After the pupils view this video, pose the question to the class: What issues concerning the Love Canal hazardous-waste disaster are being presented by this video for our analysis and assessment? Two major issues presented in this video reflect the essential questions: Who was primarily responsible and liable for the Love Canal hazardous-waste disaster (the corporation or the city)?) and To what extent did the federal and state governments respond effectively and justly to the Love Canal hazardous waste disaster?
  3. Display the Lesson 1 essential question: Who was primarily responsible and liable for the Love Canal hazardous waster disaster (the corporation or the city)? and distribute "Timeline: Love Canal Hazardous Waste Disaster," the document packet for Lesson 1 (with document excerpts nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5), and the organizers for documents 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 to all students in each group. Then frame the literary lens and window by which the pupils will examine, explain, and evaluate each document and review the process for the pupils’ completion of the organizer for each document, highlighting the "Evidence for and/or against Corporate Responsibility and Liability" and the "Evidence for and/or against the City of Niagara Falls’ Responsibility and Liability" for the Love Canal hazardous-waste disaster. (If there are time limitations, the timeline could be assigned to the students for their reading and review in preparation for Lesson 1.)
  4. The pupils will work in groups as they read and discuss the main ideas and textual evidence in the document excerpts. At your discretion, the students in their groups read the document excerpts either silently (so that every pupil can proceed smoothly at their own pace) or have the students within their groups do a "shared reading" or a "read around" (for pronunciation and/or rhetorical purposes as well as ELL pupils.) "Shared reading" can be developed initially by having the students follow along silently while you begin reading aloud, modeling prosody, inflection, and punctuation. Invite the pupils to join the reading after a few sentences and continue to read aloud with them, serving as a model for the class. As a reading guide, the pupils should note, highlight, and/or underline key terms, phrases, and sentences that describe and delineate the "Evidence for and/or against Corporate Responsibility and Liability" and the "Evidence for and/or against City of Niagara Falls’ Responsibility and Liability."
  5. After reading each document, the students in their respective groups will complete the summary organizer, citing Evidence for and/or against Corporate Responsibility and Liability and Evidence for and/or against City of Niagara Falls’ Responsibility and Liability for the Love Canal hazardous-waste disaster. Upon completion, the students will write summary statements of this evidence in their own words in the organizer. After completing this work for each document, the students will then "turn-and-talk" to their peers in the group and discuss the evidence from each document excerpt that they selected and summarized for and/or against "Corporate Responsibility and Liability" and "City of Niagara Falls’ Responsibility and Liability." The students will then note any additional information and/or insights that they have learned from these interactions with their classmates on the back of their organizers. This learning process should then be repeated for all document excerpts (Documents 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5).
  6. Group Presentations and Reports and Class Discussion: Based on the information in their organizers, each group will present and report its evidence and findings to the class. This evidence can be highlighted, outlined, and displayed on a Smartboard, whiteboard, overhead projector, or computer projector, and the teacher can develop and orchestrate whole-class discussion through a series of thought-provoking questions. Sample questions could include the following:
    • Based on the evidence, do you think that the Hooker Chemical and Plastics Corporation should be held responsible and liable for the Love Canal hazardous waste disaster? Explain your viewpoint.
    • Since the Hooker Corporation followed, and sometimes exceeded, the existing industrial waste disposal practices and standards at that time, should the company be held responsible and liable for compensatory and punitive damages? Explain your viewpoint.
    • Did the transfer of property deed with its release of liability clause absolve the Hooker Corporation from any responsibility and liability for the Love Canal property? Explain your viewpoint.
    • Based on the evidence, do you think that the City of Niagara Falls should be held responsible and liable for the Love Canal hazardous waste disaster? Explain your viewpoint.
    • How did the residents of the Love Canal neighborhood respond to the hazardous waste disaster? To what extent were their reactions and responses effective? Explain.
  7. "Exit Card" Summary and Assessment Activity: As a final summary and closure for Lesson 1, refer the students’ attention back to the essential question: Who was primarily responsible and liable for the Love Canal hazardous-waste disaster (the corporation or the city)? and direct them to complete the exit card: Based on the information from your Textual (Document) Evidence and Summary Statements from documents 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, develop a viewpoint and write a response to the Lesson 1 essential question. In the final moments of the lesson, a sampling of students will share their Exit Card statements with their classmates. These statements should be collected by the teacher for an evaluation of student learning.

Lesson 2

Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Analyze and assess the text of primary and scholarly document excerpts by identifying, summarizing , and evaluating the evidence concerning the extent to which the City of Niagara Falls and the Niagara Falls Board of Education were responsible and liable for causing the Love Canal toxic chemical disaster.
  • Develop (take a position), evaluate (draw a conclusion), and present a viewpoint on Lesson 2’s "essential question": To what extent did the federal and state governments respond effectively and justly to the Love Canal hazardous waste disaster?
  • Expand their knowledge of unfamiliar vocabulary words by determining and reasoning the meanings of selected unfamiliar vocabulary words from their context and usage in the documents. (Such a learning activity enhances the students’ skills as effective communicators and collaborative team members.)

Materials

  • Document Excerpts
    1. Account of Eckardt C. Beck, Administrator of Region 2, United States Environmental Protection Agency, on his visit to Love Canal, August 1978.
    2. United States District Court Decision in the Case of the United States, the State of New York, and UDC-Love Canal, Inc. v. Hooker Chemicals Plastics Corporation et al., May 12, 1988.
    3. United States Department of Justice and Environmental Protection Agency, Press Release, December 21, 1995: Occidental Chemical Corporation’s Love Canal Settlement.
    4. United States District Court Decision in the Case of the United States, the State of New York, and UDC-Love Canal, Inc. v. Occidental Petroleum Corporation et al., May 30, 1997.
  • Timeline: Love Canal Hazardous Waste Disaster
  • Summary Organizers for Document Excerpts
  • "Exit Card" Written Response to Essential Question
  • Smartboard, whiteboard, overhead projector, or computer projector

Procedure

  1. Divide the class into small heterogeneous groups of three to four students of varying abilities and levels of achievement. You can also employ a cooperative-learning format for this lesson, and the students in each group could assume such designated roles as recorder, reporter, and scribe in their discussion, analysis, assessment, and presentation of the document evidence, main ideas, conclusions, and viewpoints to their classmates.
  2. Display the Lesson 2 essential question: To what extent did the federal and state governments respond effectively and justly to the Love Canal hazardous-waste disaster? and distribute the document packet for Lesson 2 (with document excerpts nos. 6, 7, 8, and 9), and the organizers for document 6, 7, 8, and 9 to all students in each group. Students should also have the timeline as a reference resource for Lesson 2. Frame the literary lens and window by which the pupils will examine, explain, and evaluate each document (nos.6, 7, 8, and 9) and review the process for the pupils’ completion of the organizer for each document, highlighting the "Evidence of Government Actions, Decisions, and /or Policies" in the Love Canal hazardous waste disaster.
  3. During the lesson the pupils will work in small groups as they read and discuss the main ideas and textual evidence in the document excerpts. At your discretion, the students in their groups read the document excerpts either silently (so that every pupil can proceed smoothly at their appropriate pace) or have the students within their groups do a "shared reading" or a "read around" (for pronunciation and/or rhetorical purposes as well as ELL pupils.) "Shared reading" can be developed initially by having the students follow along silently while you begin reading aloud, modeling prosody, inflection, and punctuation. Then invite the pupils to join the reading after a few sentences and continue to read aloud with the students, serving as a model for the class. As a reading guide, the pupils should note, highlight, and/or underline key terms, phrases, and sentences that describe and delineate the Evidence of Government Actions, Decisions, and/or Policies in the Love Canal hazardous-waste disaster.
  4. Textual (Document) Evidence and Summary Statements for Documents Nos. 6, 7, 8, and 9: After reading each document, the students in their respective groups will complete the organizer, citing Evidence of Government Actions, Decisions, and/or Policies. Upon completion, the students will write summary statements of this evidence in their own words in the organizer. After completing this work for each document, the students will then "turn-and-talk" to their peers in the group and discuss the evidence from each document excerpt that they selected and summarized, regarding the Government Actions, Decisions, and/or Policies in the Love Canal hazardous-waste disaster. The students will then note any additional information and/or insights that they have learned from these interactions with their classmates on the back of their organizers. This learning process should be repeated for all document excerpts (Documents 6, 7, 8, and 9).
  5. Group Presentations and Reports and Class Discussion: Based on the information in their summary organizers, each group will then present and report its evidence and findings to the class concerning Government Actions, Decisions, and/or Policies in the Love Canal hazardous-waste disaster. This evidence can be highlighted, outlined, and displayed on a Smartboard, whiteboard, overhead projector, or computer projector, and the teacher can develop and orchestrate whole-class discussion through a series of thought-provoking questions. Sample questions could include the following:
    1. Based on the evidence, how did the government of New York State respond to the Love Canal hazardous waste disaster?
    2. Did the government of New York State respond effectively, justly, and in a timely manner to this situation? Explain your viewpoint.
    3. Based on the evidence, how did the federal government respond to the Love Canal hazardous waste disaster?
    4. Did the federal government respond effectively, justly, and in a timely manner to this situation? Explain your viewpoint.
    5. How did the residents of the Love Canal neighborhood respond and/or react to the actions and decisions of the federal and New York State governments?
  6. "Exit Card" Summary and Assessment Activity: As a final summary and closure for Lesson 2, refer the students’ attention back to the Lesson 2 essential question: To what extent did the federal and state governments respond effectively and justly to the Love Canal hazardous waste disaster? and direct them to complete the "Exit Card": Based on the information from your Textual (Document) Evidence and Summary Statements from Documents 6, 7, 8, and 9, develop a viewpoint and write a response to the Lesson 2 essential question. In the final moments of the lesson, a sampling of students will share their "Exit Card" statements with their classmates. These statements should be collected for an evaluation of student learning.
  7. Application Activity (optional): The students would compare the Love Canal hazardous-waste disaster to a very recent spill of toxic coal ash by Duke Energy into the Dan River in North Carolina in February 2014. Estimates range from 50,000 to 80,000 tons of coal ash and as much as 60 million gallons of coal-ash wastewater were released into the Dan River. This incident raises similar questions concerning corporate responsibility and liability for this spill as well as how the federal and North Carolina state governments have and should react, investigate, and pursue remediation and reimbursement of clean-up costs for this environmental calamity. Students work collaboratively as investigative reporters on this incident and make comparisons to the Love Canal disaster. Initial student research sources could include the following:
    • Catherine E. Shoichet, "Spill Sprews Tons of Coal Ash into North Carolina River," CNN US News, February 9, 2014. http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/09/us/north-carolina-coal-ash-spill/
    • Trip Gabriel, "Ash Spill Shows How Watchdog Was Defanged," New York Times, February 28, 2014.
    • Michael Wines, "North Carolina Says Utility Pumped Millions of Gallons of Wastewater in River," New York Times, March 20, 2014.
    • Associated Press, "Duke Energy Agrees to Fund Dan River Clean-up," New York Times, June 9, 2014.

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