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Vintage Photos Taken By The EPA Reveal What America Looked Like Before Pollution Was Regulated

  • Before the Environmental Protection Agency started regulating pollution in the nation’s air, water, and land, things were dire. These photos show how bad it was.
  • We’ve made significant progress since then, but there’s still a lot of work to do to keep our environment and those who live in it healthy.
  • The Trump administration’s EPA aims to roll back a number of environmental protections, though Scott Pruitt resigned on July 5 amid ethics scandals.
  • The new acting administrator of the EPA, Andrew Wheeler, is likely to continue with a similar agenda.
  • Now that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has announced his retirement, many experts think a number of environmental regulations could get overturned.

As the story goes, the chemical-filled Cuyahoga River in Cleveland burst into flames on June 22, 1969, possibly ignited by a spark from a passing train.

Marc St. Gil/Documerica

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