Local Community vs. National Industry: The TMI and Santa Barbara Protests

March 1984 (VOL. 2, NO. 1)

Download this article

Comparing two examples of local protest--one a failure and the other a success--this paper shows the importance of the interaction between local groups and national social movements in predicting the outcomes of struggles pitting communities against established industries. A critical difference between the unsuccessful attempt of Santa Barbara activists to prevent the resumption of oil drilling after the 1969 spill, on the one hand, and the successful efforts of TMI residents to block the restart of the reactor adjacent to the one damaged in the 1979 nuclear accident, on the other, is the maturity of the national environmental movement. Focusing primarily on the relatively successful TMI protest, the paper emphasizes the importance of the national antinuclear movement\\'s resources in forcing resourceful actors (individual and organizational) into adversarial positions vis-a-vis the offending utility.