Love_Canal_Report - The Love Canal tragedy was a chain...

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The Love Canal tragedy was a chain reaction of bad decision-making by all parties involved; although it is difficult to point blame, we are placing the majority of the blame on the government (city council and Niagara Falls School Board) and its agents (architects, construction company, and city engineers). We are aware that there are several aspects in this case, however due to the constraints of this paper we are concentrating on three aspects which we find relevant at point majority of the blame on the government. The three aspects include actions taken by Hooker Chemical Company and the government in the pre-property purchase, post-property purchase, and construction of property by all agents. Pre-Purchase Prior to the purchase of the land, the government showed interest in the property currently owned by Hooker due to their desire to meet the needs of a rapidly growing community (post World War II baby boom). The site was feasible for the government as it met their requirements. Hooker originally gained possession of the property which was intended for dumping toxic chemicals. This location already served as a municipal dump site and was located in a sparsely populated area. The dump site was not only convenient for the company on a financial level, but it also met all health authority requirements and stayed within the legal boundaries of the law. Hooker also acted morally towards stakeholders by finding a low cost dump site to dispose of any unwanted waste. Prior to the transaction taking place, Hooker acted as how a corporation should act according to Friedman’s article; “There is one and only one social responsibility of business – to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say engages in open and free competition without deception or
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fraud.” In this case, Hooker forewarned the government of the chemicals under the property and discouraged the sale of the land for the use of construction. Hooker also escorted school officials to the property site to ensure that they inspected the property and are notified of the chemicals buried beneath prior to acquisition. Even though we see that Hooker went beyond its responsibilities as a corporation and to its shareholders, the government was still persistent with its plan to purchase the property. The government’s role of acting within the best interest of its citizens took a back seat in this case as their priorities changed to one towards profit driven decisions. Furthermore the government acted immorally by legalizing the dumping of toxic waste without carefully examining the contents of the toxins and simply allowed companies to discard their hazardous wastes as they see fit. The government failed to take into consideration the potential long term effects of the hazardous materials proceeding with their plan to use the area for their own use. This directly shows how the government was not acting on the best behalf of the community
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This note was uploaded on 10/23/2009 for the course PHIL 3200 taught by Professor Jfisher during the Spring '07 term at Langara.

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Love_Canal_Report - The Love Canal tragedy was a chain...

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