The Feb. 2 Fisher Center talk on “Environmental Justice, Environmental Health: Women’s Voices from Cancer Alley” was featured in the Feb. 3 Finger Lakes Times. Barbara Allen, the environmentalist who spoke, defined cancer alley as the 85-mile stretch along the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, La. She explained that the emergence of more than 120 chemical plants and petroleum processors in the area has created numerous health problems for area residents. Those residents, who tend to be poor and uneducated, have long felt powerless against the financially and politically powerful corporate entities.
By attending public hearings and interviewing dozens of people, Allen has documented many cancer alley residents and has concluded that official reports produced by corporations and government agencies are “weak or incomplete at their very foundation.”
She also highlighted the role of women activists and scientists on issues of public and environmental health in this heavily polluted region.
Allen is the director of the Science, Technology and Society program at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. The Fisher Center was endowed with a $1 million gift from Emily and Richard Fisher, whose son Alexander graduated from Hobart College in 1993. Creation of the Fisher Center for the Study of Women and Men reflects a perfect intersection of the Colleges' coordinate history and trends in the study of gender throughout academe.