Trade war tradeoff: How a Missouri town got America’s dirtiest air



Tim McLaughlin | Reuters

MARSTON, Missouri (Reuters) – The residents of New Madrid County cheered in 2018 when a bankrupt aluminum smelter that rises over the Missouri region’s vast farm fields restarted operations and hiring, thanks to aluminum tariffs levied in President Donald Trump’s trade war.

FILE PHOTO: A sign marking New Madrid County is seen on the side of a road outside Gideon, Missouri, U.S., May 16, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo

The smelter reclaimed its place as one of New Madrid’s biggest employers, with more than 500 workers. But the resurrection has come at a cost.

The soot pouring out of its smokestacks last year consistently produced the dirtiest air recorded in America, according to a Reuters review of pollution monitor data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (For a graphic on the pollution from the smelter’s smokestacks, see )

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