Political Waters: The Long, Dirty, Contentious, Incredibly Expensive, but Eventually Triumphant History of Boston Harbor : A Unique Environmental Success Story

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9781558494459: Political Waters: The Long, Dirty, Contentious, Incredibly Expensive, but Eventually Triumphant History of Boston Harbor : A Unique Environmental Success Story

Boston Harbor has always been America’s harbor. It served as a colonial gateway to the world, witnessed the Boston Tea Party, and helped Boston transform itself from an outpost of a few hardy settlers into a bustling metropolis and self-proclaimed hub of the universe.

Yet for hundreds of years, Eric Jay Dolin points out, Boston Harbor was also a cesspool. Long before Bostonians dumped tea into the harbor to protest English taxes, they dumped sewage there. As the Boston area grew and prospered, its sewage problems worsened, as did the harbor’s health, to the point where in the 1980s it was considered the most polluted harbor in the country and ridiculed as the "harbor of shame." Then, in one of the most impressive environmental comebacks in American history, Boston Harbor was dramatically cleaned up. All it took was two lawsuits, two courts, dozens of lawyers, the creation of a powerful sewage authority, thousands of workers, millions of labor hours, and billions of dollars.

Sewage management is rarely as compelling and exciting as higher profile environmental issues such as global climate change, preserving endangered species, or protecting tropical rainforests. But it can be, as Dolin shows in this engaging narrative account. Boston’s struggle to deal with its sewage is an epic story of failure and success, replete with colorful characters, political, bureaucratic, and legal twists and turns, engineering feats, and massive amounts of money. In the end, success hinged on the often overlooked yet monumentally important act of responsibly disposing of the waste people produce every day.

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From the Publisher:

A lively account of the centuries-long struggle to clean up one of the nation’s most polluted bodies of water.

About the Author:

Eric jay Dolin has degrees from Brown University, the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Ph.D.). He has worked as a program manager at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, an environmental consultant stateside and in London, an intern at the National Wildlife Federation and on Capitol Hill, a fisheries policy analyst at the National Marine Fisheries Service, and an American Association for the Advancement of Science Mass Media Science and Engineering Fellow at Business Week.
 
Much of Dolin's writing reflects his interest in wildlife, the environment, and American history. His books include the Smithsonian Book of National Wildlife Refuges, Snakehead: A Fish Out of Water, and Political Waters, a history of the degradation and cleanup of Boston Harbor. His book, Leviathan: The History of Whaling In America (W. W. Norton), was chosen as one of the best nonfiction books of 2007 by the Los Angeles Times and the Boston Globe. Leviathan also won a number of awards, including the 2007 John Lyman Award for U. S. Maritime History and the twenty-third annual L. Byrne Waterman Award, given by the New Bedford Whaling Museum, for outstanding contributions to whaling research and history. His most recent book is Fur, Fortune, and Empire: The Epic History of the Fur Trade (W. W. Norton, July 2010), a national bestseller, was chosen by New West, The Seattle Times, and The Rocky Mountain Land Library as one of the top non-fiction books of 2010.

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Eric Jay Dolin
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