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Alpenglow: Binghamton University Undergraduate Journal of Research and Creative Activity

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Valerie Imbruce

Abstract

Endicott, a small town in the Southern Tier of New York, experienced great economic success due to the birth of IBM in 1911 through the late 1900s. Today, the town is left with environmental degradation and is tainted by carcinogens as a result. The post-industrial town has endured corporate-state mitigation efforts for years. This research will explore the realities of the toxic plume in the twenty years since operations have ended at the IBM-Endicott plant. Through implementing participant observations and a myriad of interviews with experts, including NYSDEC (New York State Department of Environmental Conservation) officials and Endicott residents, the plume’s lingering situation was revealed. The chemical spill continues to leave mixed emotions within the community. Some are angered at IBM, some retain their loyalty and respect, and others have come to terms with the efforts made and now see the plume as a part of Endicott’s history. This “toxic plume” is the worst reality of the possible effects that powerful corporations can impose on small towns, a reality that has become a fear for many such communities around the world. The ongoing story of the Endicott plume fits into the greater picture for the need of environmental justice; it is an example of precautions needed to be put into place for other industrial towns to prevent pollution and contamination.

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