Environment: Troubled Little Island

Hilton Head Island is an unspoiled little Eden off the coast of South Carolina. Once renowned for its cotton crop, it has now been redeveloped as a green enclave of wealth and leisure. Most of the private homes have been built by retired corporate executives. They know about pollution—many of them have run polluting industries.

Now the dirty world has suddenly caught up with the citizens of Hilton Head. Last summer, the American subsidiary of Badische Anilin und Soda Fabrik, West Germany's giant chemical company, quietly bought up 1,800 acres on the mainland near...

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