“Environmental History”
Selected Stories: 1950s-2010s

Refinery Explosion

“Texas City Disaster”

BP Refinery: 2005

The BP oil company,
skimping on safety,
kills 15, injures 180.

Oil Spill History

“Santa Barbara Oil Spill”

Union Oil: 1969

Offshore blowout pollutes
beaches, kills wildlife;
ignites environmental cause.

Pesticides & Ecology

“Power in the Pen”


Rachel Carson’s Silent
Spring took aim
at the chemical industry.

Strip Mining Foe

“Mountain Warrior”


Harry Caudill,
author and activist,
fought for Appalachia.

River Pollution

“Burn On, Big River…”

Cuyahoga River Fires

Oil pollution history
of Cuyahoga River is
covered in this story.

Big Coal vs. Small Town


1971-John Prine

Strip mining history in
Muhlenberg County, KY is
covered in this story.

Sexy Coal Hype

“G.E.’s Hot Coal Ad”


General Electric’s ‘hot’
TV ad casts coal mining
in an unreal light.

Pesticide Promotion

“…A Richer Harvest”

Union Carbide Ads

“Giant hand” pesticide
ads & the story of
the Bhopal disaster.

Oil Refinery Blaze

“Inferno At Whiting”

Standard Oil: 1955

Big refinery near Chicago
explodes & burns for
8 days; 1,500 flee.

2003 Explosion

“Barge Explodes in NY”

ExxonMobil Depot

A Bouchard oil barge
blast frightens terrorist-
sensitive NY city area.

Environmental Reporting

“Nader’s Raiders”


Ralph Nader’s “swat teams”
published best-selling
environmental exposés.

Autos & Air Pollution

“G.M. & Ralph Nader”


“Unsafe at Any Speed”
included reporting on
auto pollution & smog.

Poplar Pipeline Leak

“Oil Fouls Montana”

January 2015

Oil pipeline break pollutes
Yellowstone River
& Glendive’s water.

Gulf Oil Company

“Burning Philadelphia”

Refinery Inferno: 1975

Eleven-alarm oil blaze
kills eight firefighters
& frightens city.

Gulf of Mexico

“Offshore Oil Blaze”

Shell Oil: 1970-71

Oil rig blowout
kills four, burns for
nearly three months.

Big Tank Failure

“Disaster at Pittsburgh”

Ashland Oil: 1988

Oil tank collapse pollutes
drinking water for
millions downstream.

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Date Posted: 9 May 2015
Last Update: 27 December 2017
Comments to: jdoyle@pophistorydig.com

Article Citation:
Jack Doyle, “Environmental History: Topics Page,”
PopHistoryDig.com, May 9, 2015.