September 27 - 1987: Pollution closes in on Cape Cod's waters

An impending ecological disaster is building off our shore
The area is delineated by Cape Cod at the eastern tip of Massachusetts in the southwest and Cape Sable at the southern tip of Nova Scotia in the northeast.

1987: "Pollution Closes In on Gulf of Maine"

Long-term risk for 4,500-mile coastline from Cape Cod to the Bay of Fundy

On this day in 1987, the New York Times reported for the first time the impending ecological disaster which was building off our shore and which would have a profound effect on Cape Cod's economy in the future.

The story began:

Pollution problems that have plagued the Atlantic seaboard this summer are now believed to pose a threat to the rich fishing habitat off the coast of Maine, an area once thought to be untroubled by pollution.

Scientists, concerned by the recent discovery of hazardous substances in the area, are calling for extensive research into the unknown sources of pollutants to save the coast from further destruction.

Recent studies have found PCB's, heavy metals, hydrocarbons and excess nitrogen from sewage on the 4,500-mile coastline from Cape Cod to the Bay of Fundy.

Read the entire article here.

Cape Cod Declares Independence - September 27, 1774

Tales of Cape Cod, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and disseminating Cape Cod’s history initially proposed recognition of Barnstable County Independence Day.  They estimate that as many as 1,500 ordinary citizens from across Cape Cod gathered in front of Barnstable’s Olde Colonial Courthouse on September 27, 1774 – nearly two years earlier than when America declared independence from Great Britain -  to protest the Intolerable Acts decreed by the British to punish Colonists for the Boston Tea Party. Until then the Province of Massachusetts enjoyed nearly complete local autonomy under its 1691 royal charter. The Intolerable Acts changed this by taking away the colonists’ rights to elect their government officials, choose jurors locally and hold town meetings. 

Counties across Massachusetts moved to shut down their courthouses before the new Crown-controlled courts could sit for the fall session in 1774. In Barnstable County, protesters demanded that the County cease from all government business until “the mind of the continental, or of a provincial, Congress shall be obtained” and ended with County officials signing a document that conceded to the cancellation of the court’s fall session.

By the end of that week in September, Cape Cod was in every respect rid of British control, and by the end of that year, British control had ended in all of Massachusetts except Boston. In response, the next April, British dispatched troops to Concord to secure munitions stored there — and with the Battle of Lexington and Concord, the Revolutionary War began.


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