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Ecumenical Task Force of the Niagara Frontier records

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MS-0065

Scope and Contents

Contains the records and papers of the ETF including: minutes, organizational files, Executive Director Pat Brown's files, correspondence, clippings, records on ETF functions, subject and resource files, records regarding other Love Canal organizations, reports on habitability and remediation, subject files of other environmental organizations, records of other WNY hazardous waste sites, subject files of companies dealing with hazardous waste, and litigation file resulting from hazardous waste disposal.

In order to be consistent with names throughout the MS 65 finding aid, some organizations will be referred to as:

  1. Hooker Chemical and Plastics is referred to as "Hooker Chemical" throughout the finding aid even after it was purchased by Occidental Chemical in 1968.
  2. The Unites States Environmental Protection Agency is referred to as "United States EPA."
  3. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is referred to as the "New York State DEC."
  4. The New York State Department of Health is referred to as "New York State DOH."

Some documents may have handwritten numbers in the upper-right corner. This refers to a previous folder number from previous processing and may be disregarded.


  • 1946-1995
  • Majority of material found within 1978-1990


Language of Materials

Collection material in English and French.

Terms of Access

Ecumenical Task Force of the Niagara Frontier Records, 1946-1995 (1978-1990 bulk), are open for research.


Copyright of papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns. Researchers must obtain the written permission of the holder(s) of copyright and the University Archives before publishing quotations from materials in the collection. Most papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures unless otherwise specified.

Historical Note

The Ecumenical Task Force of the Niagara Frontier, Inc. (ETF) was founded in 1979 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of human and natural resources from chemical and radiological contamination in the Western New York area and within the Great Lakes eco-system. Its mission and purpose addressed the physical, psychological, social, economic, moral, and ethical issues inherent in the environmental concerns that impact persons and communities.

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.

Pat Brown Biography:

Patricia A. Brown was a resident of the Love Canal area in Niagara Falls, New York. After toxic chemicals from the nearby chemical dumpsite were discovered seeping into residents homes, Brown took action and volunteered with the newly formed Ecumenical Task Force. Soon she was employed as the executive secretary for the organization and later became the ETF Resource Center manager, developing and operating the organization's library.

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


241 Linear Feet (194 manuscript boxes, 7 card boxes, 1 flat box, 1 map case drawer, 2 oversize map holders, 1 carton)


The records of the Ecumenical Task Force of the Niagara Frontier (ETF) document the organizing of a unified grassroots response to Love Canal, one of the nation's most significant environmental disasters. Records include administrative documents, correspondence, subject files, extensive resource libraries, habitability/environmental studies, litigation, and documentation on other local toxic waste sites.


Arranged into nine series: I. Administration II. Pat Brown as Executive Director III. ETF Activities IV. Resource Files V. Related Love Canal Organizations VI. Love Canal: Environmental, Health (Habitability), and Cleanup Studies VII. Environmental Organizations and Issues VIII. Hazardous Waste Management Facilities; Chemical Companies and Other Toxic Waste Sites IX. Litigation

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated in 96 cartons by Joann Hale of Allen, Lippes, and Shonn on September 24, 1996. A copy of the original box-listing and previous finding aids are available in the accession folder.

The Pat Brown materials (located in Series II and Series IV, Subseries I) were donated to the University Archives by Pat Brown's son-in-law, David Skiba in 1999. Originally a separate collection, the papers were later incorporated into this collection (MS 65) because they reflect the organization and management of the ETF.

Accruals and Additions

No further accruals are expected to this collection.

Separated Materials

Several cartons containing clippings from local and national newspapers were removed in September 2004 and May 2008 to create the Love Canal Newspaper Clipping Collection (MS 122). See Love Canal Collections.

Adeline Levine's book Love Canal: Science, Politics and People, 1972, was removed to 22/3F/634, Adeline Levine Love Canal Research Materials (Part I), 1953-1981 (1978-1981 bulk).

Published monographs used by the ETF as reference materials were removed and disbursed throughout the University Libraries.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Archives staff and students, 1996-2005, and Nathan Tallman, December 2007-May 2008.

Finding Aid for the Ecumenical Task Force of the Niagara Frontier records MS.0065
Finding aid prepared by Nathan Tallman.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives Repository

420 Capen Hall
Buffalo New York 14260-1674 US
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