Date of Award

Fall 2000

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Policy Studies - (M.S.)

Department

Humanities and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Robert S. Friedman

Second Advisor

Eric M. Katz

Third Advisor

Daniel Watts

Abstract

Remediation of PCB contamination in the Hudson River is an issue hotly contested within local communities, the media, and between government agencies and corporate entities. In recent years, the EPA has decided to revisit their 1984 no-action decision for the Hudson River and in December 2000, issued a Feasibility Study recommending partial dredging of the 200 miles of the Hudson floor deemed a Superfund site. The EPA's reevaluation of their 1984 decision has spurred an enormous amount of literature from corporate, non-profit volunteer, and government agencies.

The rhetorical theory of social constructionism and the ethical theory of environmental pragmatism are used to analyze the often conflicting and contradictory governmental, corporate, and nonprofit discourse concerned with PCB remediation in the Hudson and to demonstrate both effective and ineffective examples of environmental rhetoric. The theories of social constructionism and environmental pragmatism have been found very useful in suggesting methods for constructing discourse as well as evaluating environmental rhetoric.

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