Ecumenical Task Force of the Niagara Frontier Records, 1946-1995 (MS 65)
- His. Note
- Biographical Note
- Finding Aid
- Scanned Docs
Organizationally, the ETF was made up of approximately 75 voting members and a 25-person Scientific and Technical Advisory Board, selected annually. The Executive Board was elected from ten Western New York denominational institutions. From 1979-1988 Sister Margeen Hoffmann served as Executive Director of ETF and later Pat Brown took over the position from 1989-1991.
To promote its mission of educating the public on the hazards of chemicals and toxic waste dump sites, the ETF expended resources in its public education programs. They participated in many local and national environmental conferences and presented informational talks to several religious, governmental, and educational organizations.
Often it was necessary for ETF to pursue legal action. The ETF became involved in civil court cases against chemical polluters. When able, the ETF represented Western New York residents affected by toxic waste in litigation as an amicus curiae. For this, the Scientific and Technical Advisory Board was called to present testimony and scientific analysis for alternative remediation and technology.
A large part of the ETF's work was dedicated to providing direct relief for victims of hazardous waste exposure in the Love Canal area. Prior to the relocation of remaining Love Canal residents in 1980, they provided counseling, temporary shelter, and other services to affected residents. Later they also served as intermediaries with state and local officials to facilitate the relocation process. Retained by the Love Canal Area Revitalization Agency, the ETF coordinated the review of all technical data on Love Canal issues and made impartial recommendations with respect to the habitability of the Love Canal area.
Although the Love Canal disaster was the ETF's main focus, it was not the only one. They also worked for the betterment of the community after various chemical corporations including CECOS International, Inc. and Hooker Chemical and Plastics Corporation were responsible for the contamination of other local area sites such as the Hyde Park Landfill, the S-Area Landfill, and Forrest Glenn. See Series VIII, Hazardous waste management facilities, chemical companies and other toxic waste sites for more information on ETF's work for these other contaminated areas.
The ETF dissolved in the early 1990's.
In 1989 Brown took over as Executive Director and continued to expand the ETF's programs in research, activism and education. She gave speeches, and participated in government hearings and committees. Personally she continued to develop her activism beyond the ETF by becoming involved in the Niagara Falls Hazardous Materials Advisory Committee, the Environmental Liaison Committee, the Niagara Falls Chamber of Commerce, the Toxics in Your Community Coalition (based in Albany, NY), and the Niagara County Legislature Citizens Advisory Committee.
Pat Brown died in February 1999.
Biographical Note for Sister Margeen Hoffmann:
Margeen Hoffmann was born to farming parents in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota on April 25, 1936. In 1957, she achieved her life objective of becoming a Sister of St. Francis. Sister Margeen earned her bachelor of education degree in 1968 from the College of St. Teresa and completed her master's in social planning and community organization at Boston College in 1974.
Sister Margeen Hoffmann's first experiences with disaster recovery and interfaith response were the 1978 floods in Rochester, Minnesota. Sister Margeen served as Executive Director of the Rochester Area Churches Emergency Response from 1978-1979 before coming to the Ecumenical Task Force in July 1979 as Executive Director.
Known for her tough stance and compassion, Sister Margeen was the leading force behind the ETF. As Executive Director of an interfaith agency, she pulled together the religious community, and fought for the rights of Love Canal residents. Sister Margeen worked with local, state, and federal government employees, as well as health experts, on the environmental and health studies conducted at Love Canal, in addition to the remediation. She was a public figure who frequently appeared on the media and at public events to speak about Love Canal.
After 10 years of leading the ETF, Sister Margeen left in 1988 to work as an environmental negotiator for the Mediation Center of Niagara. In 1991, she returned to Minnesota to work as a temporary consultant to the Gift of Life Transplant House, an organization that provided a warm and home-like atmosphere to transplant recipients at the Mayo Clinic. Sister Margeen stayed with the Gift of Life for the remainder of her life, serving as Executive Director for 16 years.
On August 3, 2007, Sister Margeen Hoffmann passed away at the age of 71 due to health complications.References:
In order to be consistent with names throughout the MS 65 finding aid, some organizations will be referred to as:
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Love Canal Online DocumentsThis Ecumenical Task Force documents scanned on this site were supported in part by a Library Services and Technology Act grant awarded to the Western New York Library Resources Council by the State Education Department of the University of the State of New York in 1998.
(Please note: documents were scanned in 1998 and saved as low resolution gif images. Printing quality may vary).
Environmental Protection Agency Testing
ETF Legislative Files
New York State Legislative Hearings