Environmental Control in Appalachia: Politics of the Red River Gorge Dam Controversy, 1962-1975

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Rice University

In 1962, Congress approved the building of a dam on the Red River in Eastern Kentucky because of recurring floods affecting Powell County, Kentucky. This dam threatened a beautiful and ecologically unique part of the Red River, and, in response, in 1967 a group of environmental activists gathered together to challenge the building of this dam. After a contracted battle involving the Army Corps of Engineers, environmental activists, politicians, and local people, the dam was never built. Along with chronicling this controversy, my thesis explores the changing conceptions of the environment through the 1960s and 1970s and illustrates that Appalachian environmental activism not only existed, but was contemporary with national movements. I do this with the support of newspapers, letters, legal records, bureaucratic reports and more gathered from the Red River Gorge archive at the University of Kentucky and an online newspaper database.

Honor Thesis
Environmentalism, Army Corps of Engineers, Bureaucracy, Environmental Politics, Dams, Rivers, Red River, Kentucky, Activism, Cost-Benefit Analysis, Environmental Impact Statement, Appalachia

Cook, Kamil. "Environmental Control in Appalachia: Politics of the Red River Gorge Dam Controversy, 1962-1975." Undergraduate thesis, Rice University, 2022. https://doi.org/10.25611/HJ0T-4906.

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