Seminar, Environmental History Seminar

Targeting Reform: CERCLA, Industri-Plex, and Pollution Remediation in the United States

Author: Johnathan Williams, Boston University
Comment: Elizabeth Grennan Browning, Indiana University

Tuesday, March 8, 2022, 5:15PM - 6:30PM

The Industri-Plex Superfund Site in Woburn, Massachusetts, now the site of a Target Superstore, has been hailed as a success story. Woburn played a pivotal role in creating, shaping, and reforming Superfund, formally known as the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). Despite contention over Superfund, defenders of the program looked to Industri-Plex as a model for how Superfund can work in remediating a contaminated landscape for productive reuse. By focusing on Industri-Plex to understand this legislative history, the paper reveals the limits and failures in fully addressing toxic contamination across the United States.

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