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MAKING SENSE of the Love Canal/Occidental Chemical trial.
We could talk about hole borings, radiating tendencies of buried chemicals and polychlorinated biphenyls.

We could talk about a projected 1 million pages of documents. About the $610 million in damages the state wants from Occidental (formerly Hooker Chemical) for befouling the region.

Or we could catch up with what has happened so far, sung to the tune of "The Beverly Hillbillies" theme song:

Listen to a story 'bout a canal named Love,

Clear and clean the stream it used to run,

Then one day came a certain company,

Before you knew it all the basements were smelly.

Toxins, that is

Chemical gunk

Yellow crud.

Next thing you know the ground is spittin' fire,

Little volcanoes bubblin' up from all the mire,

One young lad, into the field he ran,

And sunk to his knees in chemical quicksand.

Sucked right down,

Lost his boots,

Scared him some.

Neighbors all said that the barrels were explodin',

Day and night, filled 'em with forebodin',

What could be in 'em when they're
burstin' into flame?

Since Hooker showed up, well, this place just ain't the same.

No problem, folks,

Takin' care of it,

Under control.

Rumor has it now that the Army joined the fray,

Pourin' rocket fuel into the dump some days,

A secret memo claims that it gave the brass a fear,

And if the word got out, documents would disappear.

Vanish, that is,

Up in smoke,

Maybe a chemical fire.

After a while, the barrels they'd a-rise,

Filled with the stuff Hooker hoped would vaporize,

Stickin' up from the ground, clear and bright as day,

The kids would come and atop 'em all they'd play.

Pass the time

Make mud pies

Gooey ones.

Eleven long years, the chemicals they'd dump,

All in all, 20,000 tons of gunk,

That's tons, we say, the count is 20,000,

No wonder Love Canal became low-
priced housin'.

What's that smell?

Nothin', son

Go play upstairs.

Come the 1950s, Hooker said, "We're cuttin' out,"

Told the school board, "Got a deal will make you shout,

"You can have it for a dollar, if you let us off the hook,

" 'Cause we can't be responsible for cleanin' up the gook."

Whatta bargain

Closeout sale

No refunds or exchanges.

Sad but true, on the land they built a school,

More houses sprung up, prosperity did rule,

But the stinky stuff kept bubblin' up from underground

And one day Jimmy Carter said, 'Y'all get outta town.'


On the double

Leave the mud pies.

Here and now, Hooker says it ain't its fault,

If they knew better then, they'd have stored it in a vault,

"How could we know that the stuff was worse than ink?

"Which isn't to say that we put it in our drinks."

Lethal mixture

Quite a wallop.

Make mine a double.

Hooker got itself a lawyer, he's from Washington, D.C.

Client list of Exxon, Ashland Oil, IT & T

Got a PR guy from New York, that's not Pomona,

Last time we looked, he was workin' for Leona,

Helmsley, that is

Expense account queen

Taxes ain't me.

On and on for months this thing will drag

Charts & graphs & No-Doz by the bag

In the end, Judge Curtin will decree

If the party in the wrong was the Hooker Co.

They got lawyers

Gonna need 'em

That gooey stuff, bad.

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