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This is what America looked like before the national regulation of pollution

Monday - 09/10/2017 09:25
THESE startling 1970s pictures were collected to show the effect modern industrial life was having on the American landscape.
Illegal dumping area off the New Jersey turnpike, facing Manhattan across the Hudson River. Nearby, to the south, is the landfill area of the proposed Liberty State Park. 1973. Picture: Gary Miller/Documerica/US National ArchivesSource&
Illegal dumping area off the New Jersey turnpike, facing Manhattan across the Hudson River. Nearby, to the south, is the landfill area of the proposed Liberty State Park. 1973. Picture: Gary Miller/Documerica/US National ArchivesSource&

AS THE United Stated emerged from the hedonism and social upheaval of the 1960s it became increasingly apparent that the rapid development of industrial capitalism was taking a serious toll on the environment.

As people called for action, the environmental movement gained momentum and a federal government agency was created to co-ordinate a national approach to curtailing the effects of pollution and environmental degradation. Thus the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was born.

In November 1971, the newly created government body announced a massive photo documentary project, called DOCUMERICA, to record the adverse effects of modern industrial life on the environment.

Many of the photos produced for the project offered a glimpse into everyday life in America in the 1970s while others specifically focused on environmental issues faced at the time and depict the visible stains of pollution on the American landscape.

A few years ago the US National Archives digitised more than 15,000 of the nearly 80,000 photos produced for the series, and thanks to some trying times for the EPA under the current administration, they’re being shared online with renewed vigour this week.

Illegal dumping area off the New Jersey turnpike, facing Manhattan across the Hudson River. Nearby, to the south, is the landfill area of the proposed Liberty State Park. 1973. Picture: Gary Miller/Documerica/US National Archives
Illegal dumping area off the New Jersey turnpike, facing Manhattan across the Hudson River. Nearby, to the south, is the landfill area of the proposed Liberty State Park. 1973. Picture: Gary Miller/Documerica/US National ArchivesSource:Supplied
Clark Avenue and Clark Avenue bridge in Cleveland, Ohio. Looking east from west 13th street, are obscured by smoke from heavy industry. 1973. Picture: Frank Aleksandrowicz/Documerica/US National Archives
Clark Avenue and Clark Avenue bridge in Cleveland, Ohio. Looking east from west 13th street, are obscured by smoke from heavy industry. 1973. Picture: Frank Aleksandrowicz/Documerica/US National ArchivesSource:Supplied
The Atlas Chemical company belches smoke across pasture land in the foreground. The plant was referred to as ‘old darky’ in the community because black soot from the plant covered everything nearby. One farmer claimed he lost several cows due to soot and chemicals from Atlas. 1972. Picture: Mark St, Gil/Documerica/US National Archives
The Atlas Chemical company belches smoke across pasture land in the foreground. The plant was referred to as ‘old darky’ in the community because black soot from the plant covered everything nearby. One farmer claimed he lost several cows due to soot and chemicals from Atlas. 1972. Picture: Mark St, Gil/Documerica/US National ArchivesSource:Supplied
An oil slick surrounds the Statue of Liberty in the early 1970s. Picture: Documerica/US National Archives
An oil slick surrounds the Statue of Liberty in the early 1970s. Picture: Documerica/US National ArchivesSource:Supplied
A train on the Southern Pacific Railroad passes a five-acre pond, which was used as a dump site by area commercial firms, near Ogden, Utah, in April of 1974. Picture: Documerica/US National Archives
A train on the Southern Pacific Railroad passes a five-acre pond, which was used as a dump site by area commercial firms, near Ogden, Utah, in April of 1974. Picture: Documerica/US National ArchivesSource:Supplied

During a debate in March last year for the Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump promised to dismantle the EPA.

“We are going to get rid of it in almost every form,” he said. “We’re going to have little tidbits left, but we’re going to take a tremendous amount out.”

When he later went on to take the White House, he installed former Oklahoma Attorney-General and noted climate sceptic Scott Pruitt to head up the EPA.

The appointment of Mr Pruitt was hugely controversial, not least because he has previously tried to sue the agency 14 times.

Under Mr Pruitt, the EPA has already reversed a ban on the use of a pesticide that can harm children’s brains and moved to rescind the Clean Water Rule, which clarified the Clean Water Act to prohibit industries from dumping pollutants into streams and wetlands.

Children play in yard of a Ruston home, while a tacoma smelter stack showers the area with arsenic and lead residue. 1972. Picture: Gene Daniels/Documerica/US National Archives
Children play in yard of a Ruston home, while a tacoma smelter stack showers the area with arsenic and lead residue. 1972. Picture: Gene Daniels/Documerica/US National ArchivesSource:Supplied
A dead duck mired in a five-acre pond filled with acid water oil and acid clay sludge in April of 1974. Unwary animals that came to the pond and were covered with the liquid were unable to survive. It was later cleaned up under EPA supervision. Picture: Documerica/US National Archives
A dead duck mired in a five-acre pond filled with acid water oil and acid clay sludge in April of 1974. Unwary animals that came to the pond and were covered with the liquid were unable to survive. It was later cleaned up under EPA supervision. Picture: Documerica/US National ArchivesSource:Supplied
Mary workman holds a jar of undrinkable water that comes from her well, and filed a damage suit against the Hanna coal company. She had to transport water from a well many kilometres away. Although the coal company owns all the land around her, and many roads are closed, she refused to sell at the time the photo was taken. 1973. Picture: Erik Calonius/Documerica/US National Archives
Mary workman holds a jar of undrinkable water that comes from her well, and filed a damage suit against the Hanna coal company. She had to transport water from a well many kilometres away. Although the coal company owns all the land around her, and many roads are closed, she refused to sell at the time the photo was taken. 1973. Picture: Erik Calonius/Documerica/US National ArchivesSource:Supplied
Trash and old tires litter the shore at the middle branch of Baltimore harbour. 1973. Picture: Jim Pickerell/Documerica/US National Archives
Trash and old tires litter the shore at the middle branch of Baltimore harbour. 1973. Picture: Jim Pickerell/Documerica/US National ArchivesSource:Supplied

This morning, the Associated Press reported that Donald Trump is planning to roll back the centrepiece of President Barack Obama’s efforts to slow global warming, seeking to ease restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants.

In a plan expected to be made public in the coming days, the Environmental Protection Agency will declare the Obama-era rule exceeded federal law by setting emissions standards that power plants could not reasonably meet.

The expected move would be in keeping with Mr Trump’s campaign rhetoric. Throughout his ascent to the Oval Office he vowed to revive the coal industry and its jobs.

A former EPA administrator, Gina McCarthy, says repealing the rule without a timeline or a commitment to reduce carbon pollution is a “wholesale retreat” from the EPA’s obligations to deal with climate change, the AP reported.

The EPA won’t prescribe an immediate replacement to the plan, but will seek public comment on whether to curb climate-warming emissions from coal and natural gas power plants.

“Any replacement rule that the Trump administration proposes will be done carefully and properly within the confines of the law,” EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman said.

Donald Trump has previously pulled the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord signed by nearly 200 countries which have committed to combat global warming by reducing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.

Water cooling towers of the John Amos power plant loom over a home located across the Kanawha river, near Poca, West Virginia. 1973.
Water cooling towers of the John Amos power plant loom over a home located across the Kanawha river, near Poca, West Virginia. 1973.Source:Supplied

 

Miners line up to go into the elevator shaft at the Virginia-pocahontas coal company mine near Richlands, Virginia. The man at the right wears a red hat which means he is a new miner and has worked below less than a month. His belt also shows less wear than the others. The miner at the left carries red man chewing tobacco, used by many of the men because they cannot smoke in the mines. They also prefer to carry their own water rather than use what the company provides. 1974. Picture: Jack Corn/Documerica/US National Archives
Miners line up to go into the elevator shaft at the Virginia-pocahontas coal company mine near Richlands, Virginia. The man at the right wears a red hat which means he is a new miner and has worked below less than a month. His belt also shows less wear than the others. The miner at the left carries red man chewing tobacco, used by many of the men because they cannot smoke in the mines. They also prefer to carry their own water rather than use what the company provides. 1974. Picture: Jack Corn/Documerica/US National ArchivesSource:Supplied
The George Washington Bridge in heavy smog. View towards the New Jersey side of the Hudson River. Picture: Chester Higgins/Documerica/US National Archives <a capiid='48bba0a8d9421dc1b41e1e606d22529e' class='capi-video'>This Is How Bad New Delhi's Air Pollution Is</a>
The George Washington Bridge in heavy smog. View towards the New Jersey side of the Hudson River. Picture: Chester Higgins/Documerica/US National Archives This Is How Bad New Delhi's Air Pollution IsSource:Supplied

 

Source: News Corp Australia Network:

 Key: America

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