State University of New York at Albany
44.25 cubic ft.
The records of Citizens' Environmental Coalition (CEC) document its research and activism, from its infancy as part of the New York Environmental Institute, through its independent chartering in 1991, and continuing into the new millennium.
Processed in 2006 by Mary Beth Sullivan, Evan Rallis, Orson Kingsley, Joshua Hauck Whealton.
All items in this manuscript group were donated to the University Libraries, M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, by Citizens' Environmental Coalition in May, July, and September 2005 and April 2006.
The materials are located onsite in the department.
The Citizens' Environmental Coalition (CEC) consists of 110 community and environmental groups and over 14,000 individuals in New York. CEC is active in local, state, and national environmental issues. It operates two offices: the main office in Albany and a Western New York office in Buffalo. CEC's primary purposes are to fight pollution in New York State, build a healthier environment, and to encourage, educate, and organize local citizens with similar goals. It supports democratic, grassroots activities, helps build coalitions, and "promote[s] corporate accountability and non-violent social justice values" ["CEC: About us", Citizen's Environmental Coalition, http://www.cectoxic.org/about.html, accessed 29 March 2006].
The origin of CEC can be traced to "Toxics In Your Community: A Conference To Promote Citizen Involvement" sponsored by the Environmental Defense Fund and the New York State Planners ["Toxics In Your Community: A Conference to Promote Citizen Involvement" brochure, Series 1: Activities, Subseries 12: Toxics, Box 1, Folder 14]. The conference, organized by Gail McFarland Benedict and Anne Rabe, was held at the Silver Bay Conference Center in Silver Bay, NY, October 14-16, 1983. It was the first in a series of successful annual environmental conferences bringing citizens and activists together to fight toxic waste.
Initially named the Toxics In Your Community Coalition, and later known as the Toxics Coalition, CEC obtained support from the New York Environmental Institute (NYEI) in 1985. The Toxics In Your Community Coalition and the Superfund Monitoring Project (SMP) at NYEI facilitated citizen networking and attempted to empower citizens fighting toxic waste in their communities. Activists became cognizant of the difficulties in maintaining citizen participation and one member noted:
One of our purposes stated at the first [Toxics In Your Community] conference was to keep each other informed so that the agencies can't play games with the different groups... If the Coalition is to be a participatory, democratically run group then the local representatives from the toxic sites must make the decision to be active. Otherwise, it becomes another coalition of environmental groups. I believe that is the organizational problem to be solved... [Correspondence from Deborah Wallace, Ph.D., President of Public Interest Scientific Consulting Service to Anne Rabe, Director of the Superfund Monitoring Project, regarding the Toxics In Your Community Coalition, 4 Aug 1985, Series 1: Activities, Subseries 12: Toxics, Box 1 Folder 17].
Several actions were taken to keep ordinary citizens involved. The EPL Institute Inc. ["NYEI 'contracts' with EPL staff to do issue projects.", Statement of Income and Expenses for the New York Environmental Institute 1989-1990, Series 1: Activities, Subseries 12: Toxics, Box 1, Folder 23] published a guide to Effective Citizen Participation in Public Hearings in 1986 [Effective Citizen Participation in Public Hearings, Series 1: Activities, Subseries 12: Toxics, Box 1, Folder 18]. The Superfund Monitoring Project cited "Citizen Assistance" as part of its plan of action in 1987. An early SMP funding proposal indicates: ...many citizens are in rural, isolated communities and face significant opposition to their basic requests for action, such as testing of wells. It is important for them to know their work is valuable and they are not alone. Often, the [Superfund Monitoring] Project helps citizens working on similar site problems to network with each other so they can share ideas and support. The Superfund Monitoring Project regularly receives over 40 calls and letters a week from citizens requesting assistance and information [New York State Superfund Monitoring Project Proposal, Part IV, Section B, May 1987, Series 1: Activities, Subseries 12: Toxics Box 1, Folder 20].
By 1990, the Toxics Coalition became known as Citizens' Environmental Coalition. CEC broadened the fight against pollution and continued to support citizen efforts. It became an independent organization, attaining status as a not for profit, tax-exempt group in 1991.
The leadership of CEC consists of an Executive Committee, a Board of Directors, and an Executive Director located in Albany, NY. A list of the current staff and board of directors is available online at http://www.cectoxic.org/about.htmlhttp://www.cectoxic.org/about.html.
Anne Rabe, 1990-2002
Roberta Chase and Kathleen Curtis, 2002-2003 (Acting Co-Directors)
Kathleen Curtis, 2002-present 
The records of Citizens' Environmental Coalition (CEC) document its research and activism, from its infancy as part of the New York Environmental Institute, through its independent chartering in 1991, and continuing into the new millennium. The earliest document in the collection is collected research material from 1973. The records in this collection document CEC's growing political maturity through the 1990s, and the bulk of the materials date from that decade.
CEC collection has been divided into eight series: Activities, Administrative Files, Fundraising, Graphics Files, Issue Files, News Clippings, Publications, and Research Material. Environmental issues covered in the collection include (but are not limited to) the following: radioactive waste, Superfund sites, clean drinking water, health care and the environment, agricultural waste, environmental labor concerns, safe schools, the Hudson River, Eastman Kodak, air pollution, toxic waste, and toxic chemicals.
The greatest strength of CEC collection lies in the Activities series. This series documents CEC's plans and actions taken on particular environmental issues. It contains correspondence, outreach files, and research material for numerous activities.
Some records of the Western New York office of CEC are found in the Water subseries. Additional records from that office remain in Buffalo, NY.
The collection also contains records from New York Environmental Institute, EPL Institute Inc., Superfund Monitoring Project, Toxics In Your Community Coalition, Healthy Schools Network, and the Office of Assemblyman Richard N. Gottfried, former New York State Assistant Majority Leader.
This collection lacks comprehensive coverage of all activities. It does not contain a substantial amount of recent records related to persistent toxic chemicals, right-to-know, Superfund, brownfields, and sustainable agriculture. Leadership documents, records listing past members of the board and other leaders, as well as records describing organizational structure (except for 1990-1991), are generally scarce. The collection is not, as of 2006, strong in post-2002 materials.
It should be noted that CEC has frequently re-used paper by printing or copying documents on the reverse side. Examples of this practice include single page outreach letters leftover from mass mailings that were subsequently re-used. Researchers should take care not to confuse the side of the page that was used actively for recordkeeping with the previously used, discarded side. Also, it is helpful to keep in mind that CEC often used both sides of the page when initiating new, longer print jobs such as multi-page reports.
Throughout the collection, researchers will observe frequent changes in institutional name or project name. These name changes can be seen alongside identical institutional addresses, phone numbers, and/or staff names. Changes in name reflect the history of CEC. Researchers should be aware that CEC grew out of the projects of other organizations and that it later joined other environmental coalitions. CEC often acted as a coalition leader, shepherding both individual citizens and citizens' groups.
The collection is organized as follows:
Access to this record group is unrestricted except where noted for records related to whistleblowers.
The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Head of Special Collections and Archives.
Identification of specific item, series, box, folder, Citizens' Environmental Coalition Records 1973-2005 (APAP-197). M. E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York (hereafter referred to as the Citizens' Environmental Coalition Records).
Inclusive Date: 1973-2005
This series consists of material relating to specific activities of Citizens' Environmental Coalition (CEC). The records in each activity subseries document research, plans, and actions taken to advance an environmental issue in New York State. The subseries dates are not always inclusive. The bulk of the activities date from the late 1980s to the late 1990s, but several folders within each activity subseries contain older information that CEC activists used as background research material.
Inclusive Date: 1983-2003
This subseries contains publications, papers, reports, guides, pamphlets, and correspondence. The materials relating to Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) are primarily concerned with environmental and health issues, but also touch on ethics. The materials on sludge are concerned with environmental issues, management, science, and agriculture.
Inclusive Date: 1980-2005
This subseries contains correspondence, notes, reports, and news clippings on hazardous waste sites throughout New York. It includes correspondence and notes documenting CEC activities relating to the sites. Public health assessments put out by the New York Department of Health (DOH), pertaining to the individual sites, are common features of this subseries. It also includes various assessments and reports from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The folder "New York State Hazardous Waste Site Remedial Program" contains some background information on DOH, DEC, and Department of Law actions relating to these sites, including a map of the nine DEC regions. Most regions contain folders with no individual sites listed on them. These can be considered general folders for that region, and contain materials for various sites that do not have individual folders. Each folder for an individual site generally contains a site name followed by the town or city the site is located in. Most of the sites had clearly indicated DEC region numbers, but the correct region was unclear for a few.
Inclusive Date: 1994-2002
The records in the subseries Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) consist of contact information, correspondence, surveys, brochures, meeting minutes, planning documents, research material, conference records, fact sheets, and publications (draft and final). Additional material such as slides, videotapes, and HCWH pins are present as well. In New York State, Health Care Without Harm focused on environmental concerns in health care, particularly in hospitals. CEC collected research material about environmental issues in health care dating back to 1994, two years prior to the founding of the national Health Care Without Harm campaign in Bolinas, California. The earliest records documenting CEC activities in the HCWH campaign were those related to dioxin and incineration activities. As its activity level increased, CEC became involved in efforts to stimulate environmentally friendly purchasing policies and improve waste management in hospitals, which led to publications such as and , as well as a conference called "Cutting Costs, Reducing Waste, and Buying Smart". Outreach records discuss mercury reduction, waste management efforts, worker safety, and patient safety issues. A significant amount of the records document activity in New York City, particularly after a grant-funded coordinator was hired to focus on advocacy in this part of the state. CEC's records include an completed in 2002.
Inclusive Date: 1991-1996
The materials in this subseries are concerned with environmental issues in schools and playgrounds and contain educational materials for and pro-environment actions by youth. The records include reports, articles, guides, and brochures.
Inclusive Date: 1986-2002
This series contains articles, petitions, news releases, correspondence, and an action plan, concerned with PCBs in the Hudson River. General Electric (GE) plays an important role, being the main source of this pollution.
Inclusive Date: 1989-2004
The records in this subseries include correspondence, research material, press releases, and brochures related to Eastman Kodak. The records document efforts to reduce toxic emissions and promote a safer environment in communities near Eastman Kodak locations in Rochester, NY. CEC became formally involved with Kodak environmental issues when the former joined the Kandid Coalition in 1997. With thirteen other organizations, CEC advocated for improved environmental management and first class labor relations. This subseries includes outreach material and extensive research records for and . The earliest dated material is background information on Kodak's company policies and practices from 1989. Much of the information in A Tarnished Image was collected from systematic Freedom of Information Law requests. The research material includes information from: the Department of Labor (DOL), Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA), Workfare programs, Kodak Annual Reports, Kodak Environmental Report, New York State Department of Tax and Finance, and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). was a joint publication of CEC and the New York State Labor and the Environment Network. Notes and drafts for the Kodak Corporate Accountability Campaign and Kodak shareholders' environmental resolution are present as well.
Inclusive Date: 1989-2001
The records in the Labor and the Environment (LEN) subseries include conference files, reports, correspondence, outreach documents, safety manuals, photographs, research material, and news clippings. These records relate to the common concerns shared by labor activists and environmentalists in New York State. The records reflect activities to inform and strengthen the partnership between laborers and environmental advocates. Many records pertain to the LEN conferences organized by CEC, beginning with the first conference in 1989. Records related to the drafting and March 1998 publication of are found in this subseries as well.
Inclusive Date: 1973-1997
The records in this subseries include correspondence, news clippings, research material, and government reports related to low level radioactive waste in New York State. The records reflect activity to discover the health affects of radioactive waste and find safe disposal. The earliest of the research material dates to 1973, but the bulk of CEC activity records are from 1983-1995.
Inclusive Date: 2001-2002
This series contains materials about the environmental consequences of the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks. It contains articles, a guide, a report, and correspondence.
Inclusive Date: 1994-1996
This subseries contains reports, news releases, papers, and news clippings that comment on the environmental record of Governor George Pataki's administration.
Inclusive Date: 1984-2002
The records in this subseries include publications, fact sheets, news clippings, legislative material related to the Superfund, and Superfund financing in New York State. Additional records in this series are actively being used at CEC and will be transferred in the future.
Inclusive Date: 1983-2002
These records include correspondence, news clippings, newsletters and other publications related to toxic chemicals and pollution in New York State. Lobbying and outreach records document CEC efforts to pressure the New York State Department of Health to investigate the health effects of toxic pollution and to pressure the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to clean up toxic waste and prosecute polluters.
Inclusive Date: 1987-2000
The records in this subseries include planning documents, workshop material, government water regulation, clean water legislation, as well as meeting and conference files. These records discuss clean water activism and the Source Water Assessment Program in New York State. Most of the records originated with the Western New York Office of CEC.
Inclusive Date: 1987-2002
This series contains correspondence, notes, news clippings relating to CEC, reports, financial documents, and other administrative records of CEC. It also contains CEC founding and structural records. Most of the materials in this series are arranged chronologically.
Inclusive Date: 1985-2004
This series contains fundraising records, particularly those connected to the foundations that fund CEC. It contains grant records, tracking of major individual donors, and canvassing records. This includes correspondence, notes, grant applications, reports, budgets, statistics, and raw data.
Inclusive Date: 1977-2001
The records in this series consist of posters, artwork, photographs, and copies of cartoons and illustrations collected by CEC that depict environmental issues.
Inclusive Date: 1977-2000
This subseries contains political cartoons and comic strips pertaining to environmental issues that interested CEC. Most of these materials are copyrighted works.
Inclusive Date: 1986-2001
The records in this subseries consist of photographs and negatives of CEC activities, members, and staff. Photographs, slides, and negatives relating to specific CEC causes can also be found in the Activities series.
Inclusive Date: 1978-2002
This series contains information about environmental issues that interested CEC. CEC was not active in every environmental issue represented in this series. The records show that CEC collected information about environmental science, environmental problems and their solutions, and environmental movements in which they did not become involved. The records include reports, correspondence, guides, news clippings, publications, notes, and photographs. These files were collected by CEC and for the most part the folder titles have been preserved from the list that accompanied them (see Box 1 Folder 1).
Inclusive Date: 1994-2000
This series consists of news clippings CEC took from newspapers and other publications about environmental issues and CEC activities.
Inclusive Date: 1985-2001
This series contains CEC publications including reports, pamphlets, the newsletter , as well as others.
Inclusive Date: 1978-2001
This series consists of chemical fact sheets used by CEC for research and informational purposes.