Visiting New Hampshire’s pristine White Mountains since my earliest days has instilled in me a deep appreciation for unmolested nature. When I discovered that the region’s paper industry so polluted New England’s Androscoggin River, that it could not support aquatic life as recently as the 1970s, I was instantly drawn to the story. The story of the Androscoggin’s destruction and subsequent restoration into the prime fishery I know today, holds troubling but inspiring lessons about the role of the state in guaranteeing environmental justice in the 21st century.
Project Site Description
On March 12, 1965, Dr. Walter Lawrance, chairman of the Androscoggin River Technical Committee, received word of a lawsuit filed by “a large number of property owners in Bristol, NH,” alleging that the pollution dumped into the Androscoggin by the paper companies Lawrance was tasked with regulating, created “nuisance” conditions downstream. Indeed, by 1965, New England’s Androscoggin River, once a rich ecosystem, supported virtually no life and could serve no purpose other than a sewer for paper mills such as the Brown Paper Company of Berlin, New Hampshire. Though keenly aware of the causes and effects of their effluent, the paper industry, and specifically the Brown Company, did not take effective measures to combat it until the Federal Clean Water Act was passed in 1972. My project will explore how the Clean Water Act led to the restoration of the Androscoggin River and why earlier efforts at pollution mitigation failed. It is my hope, that through this research, I will shed light on the winners and losers of ineffectively regulated industry and the role of the state in guaranteeing
Pollution, Water, Factories, Business, Class