The country becomes the new city

Back in the 1960s, satirist Tom Lehrer sang in Pollution about how dirty American cities had become.

The anti-pollution drives of the 1960s that led to the Clear Air Act of 1970, the Clean Water Act of 1972, and other efforts that strengthened regulations to protect the environment have resulted in much cleaner and more livable cities. It should be noted that both those pieces of major legislation were passed by congresses dominated by the Democratic party and signed into law by a Republican president Richard Nixon.

But these days, the drive to dismantle regulations that supposedly hinder business, coupled with the recent popularity of fracking and other forms of drilling everywhere that are now polluting the water in rural areas, might require Lehrer to revise his song to now warn those living in the country of the dangers that city dwellers faced half a century ago.


  1. slc1 says

    It should be noted that the man in the administration who pushed those bills was the much reviled John Ehrlichman, who went down in flames in the Watergate scandal. After he got out of the slammer, he spent the rest of his life working on environmental projects.

  2. Corvus illustris says

    The Repubs of western Washington state are an interesting and rather anomalous bunch. The Discovery Institute, which readers of FT blogs may identify only as the home of intelligent design, the wedge strategy and other schemes of the religious right wing, actually began as a public service organization for the Seattle area. Its founder, one Bruce Chapman, was notable for his moderate Repub position and anti-Goldwaterite activities in the early 1960s. Time and Amway money have changed things, of course.

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