Smoke Wars (pb): Anaconda Copper, Montana Air Pollution, and the Courts, 1890-1924

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9780917298653: Smoke Wars (pb): Anaconda Copper, Montana Air Pollution, and the Courts, 1890-1924
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Smoke Wars traces the campaign against air pollution in southwestern Montana from the fight to abolish open-heap roasting--a process that created dense clouds of low-lying, noxious smoke and caused death rates in Butte to exceed those of New York City--to the battle against toxic emissions released from the great stacks of the Anaconda Reduction Works. This landmark environmental study raises issues of corporate responsibility, the rights of citizens, and the costs of industrialization, issues still hotly contested today.

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The copper mining and smelting communities of Butte and Anaconda, Montana, today host the largest Superfund cleanup site in the United States. Hazardous waste and companies that place profit before environmental concerns have long plagued Montana's mining and smelting industries, according to this provocative history of air pollution. Smoke Wars begins with the fight in Butte to abolish heap roasting -a process that created dense clouds of low-lying, noxious smoke and caused death rates in Butte to exceed those of New York City in the 1880s. While a hard-fought public victory forced smelters to end the practice, Butte's air polution remained notorious until industry consolidation caused the transfer of most smelting operations to the great reduction works in Anaconda, twenty-six miles west of Butte. Smelting in Anaconda led to the second phase of the smoke wars -the opposition led, this time, by farmers in the Deer Lodge valley whose livestock and crops were dying from exposure to the arsenic and sulpher dioxide released from the tall stacks of the Anaconda Reduction Works. Finally, the federal government entered the fray -protesting damage to the national forest. Even the federal government was unable to force Amalgamated Copper -or the Company, as it was known throughout Montana- to control its toxic emissions. With lessons for the current environmental movement, this landmark study raises issues of corporate responsiblilty, the rights of citizens, the costs of industrialization, and the relative value of the environment, issues still hotly contested today.

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9780917298622: Smoke Wars: Anaconda Copper, Montana Air Pollution, and the Courts, 1890-1924

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