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(io9)   Regulation schmegulation... Pittsburgh was a libertarian paradise until 1946   (io9.com) divider line 117
    More: Scary, Pittsburgh, environmental regulation, University of Pittsburgh  
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2713 clicks; posted to Politics » on 04 Jun 2012 at 8:17 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-06-04 06:05:33 PM  
It will be again, in 2277.
 
2012-06-04 06:18:18 PM  
Funny story -- the clean air smoke controls were brought about chiefly through the work of two men: David Lawrence, the powerful Democratic mayor, and Richard King Mellon, the wealthy Republican industrialist. Lawrence convinced the political machine that this was the right thing to do, and Mellon convinced the businesses.

Probably wouldn't happen today.
 
2012-06-04 06:21:19 PM  

Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: Richard King Mellon, the wealthy Republican industrialist socialist jobs-hating RINO

 
2012-06-04 06:29:29 PM  
Didn't changes in technology have more to do with it than anything though?

It's tech that leads the way, not regs.

If everyone's home and offices were heated by burning coal on the site, then the air quality is worse than everyone having a furnace hooked up to natural gas or electricity.
 
2012-06-04 06:34:44 PM  

MeinRS6: Didn't changes in technology have more to do with it than anything though?


No.
 
2012-06-04 06:56:55 PM  

Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: Funny story -- the clean air smoke controls were brought about chiefly through the work of two men: David Lawrence, the powerful Democratic mayor, and Richard King Mellon, the wealthy Republican industrialist. Lawrence convinced the political machine that this was the right thing to do, and Mellon convinced the businesses.

Probably wouldn't happen today.


The Donora death smog had a lot to do with the passage of the clean air act as well.
 
2012-06-04 06:59:39 PM  

nekom: Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: Funny story -- the clean air smoke controls were brought about chiefly through the work of two men: David Lawrence, the powerful Democratic mayor, and Richard King Mellon, the wealthy Republican industrialist. Lawrence convinced the political machine that this was the right thing to do, and Mellon convinced the businesses.

Probably wouldn't happen today.

The Donora death smog had a lot to do with the passage of the socialist job-killing clean air act as well.

 
2012-06-04 07:06:46 PM  

MeinRS6: Didn't changes in technology have more to do with it than anything though?


Nope

MeinRS6: It's tech that leads the way, not regs.


not here

MeinRS6: If everyone's home and offices were heated by burning coal on the site, then the air quality is worse than everyone having a furnace hooked up to natural gas or electricity.


The home furnaces, trains and factories weren't changed over because they suddenly realized there was other tech available, but because the people insisted in new regulations. Hard as it may be for you to get, this is an example of regulations improving the world.
 
2012-06-04 07:09:43 PM  
For those interested in getting rid of the EPA and the Clean Air Act you can go and witness these scenes in Beijing today to see all the excellent benefits.
 
2012-06-04 07:11:01 PM  

MeinRS6: Didn't changes in technology have more to do with it than anything though?

It's tech that leads the way, not regs.

If everyone's home and offices were heated by burning coal on the site, then the air quality is worse than everyone having a furnace hooked up to natural gas or electricity.


That would be a very thoughtful post... IF YOU WERE A GOT DAMN AMOEBA.
 
2012-06-04 07:11:46 PM  

Tigger: For those interested in getting rid of the EPA and the Clean Air Act you can go and witness these scenes in Beijing today to see all the excellent benefits.


True capitalism .... in a communist country.
 
2012-06-04 07:12:15 PM  

timujin: The home furnaces, trains and factories weren't changed over because they suddenly realized there was other tech available, but because the people insisted in new regulations. Hard as it may be for you to get, this is an example of regulations improving the world.


But you can't pass a regulation that forces everyone to switch over to natural gas for heat, before no such tech, supply of gas, or infrastructure exists. So which comes first?

People switched over because it is nicer having gas run to your house than shoveling coal into a stove/furnace in the winter. The fact that it burns cleaner was a real plus.
 
2012-06-04 07:16:16 PM  

Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: Probably wouldn't happen today.


Probably? The GOP is actively trying to return our cities to look exactly like that.
 
2012-06-04 07:19:57 PM  

MeinRS6: Didn't changes in technology have more to do with it than anything though?

It's tech that leads the way, not regs.

If everyone's home and offices were heated by burning coal on the site, then the air quality is worse than everyone having a furnace hooked up to natural gas or electricity.


funny-pictures.funmunch.com
 
2012-06-04 07:20:00 PM  

MeinRS6: timujin: The home furnaces, trains and factories weren't changed over because they suddenly realized there was other tech available, but because the people insisted in new regulations. Hard as it may be for you to get, this is an example of regulations improving the world.

But you can't pass a regulation that forces everyone to switch over to natural gas for heat, before no such tech, supply of gas, or infrastructure exists. So which comes first?

People switched over because it is nicer having gas run to your house than shoveling coal into a stove/furnace in the winter. The fact that it burns cleaner was a real plus.


Which is why there isn't any coal burned in China. They have the available technology to use natural gas and of course they don't need any regulations to do it.

I know you're not super keen on being right but isn't this a bit far out even for you?
 
2012-06-04 07:23:52 PM  
Damn Boomers and their damn EPA and Clean Air Act. Ruined everything. And because of them minorities can vote and do other stuff that a 3/5ths of a citizen shouldn't be able to do.
 
2012-06-04 07:27:21 PM  

brap:

That would be a very thoughtful post... IF YOU WERE A GOT DAMN AMOEBA.


To be less glib than I was before about the technology: natural gas was well known in Western PA and even as early as 1884, George Westinghouse was distributing it to Pittsburgh. The technology existed, distribution networks were built, but coal was still the predominant energy because it was cheap and abundant.

Interestingly enough, when the mandate came down in the 1940s to switch from coal to gas for home heating, it was actually relatively easy, as the infrastructure was already there. (It was Mellon, however, that used his leverage at US Steel to get them to switch away from coal. )
 
2012-06-04 07:29:11 PM  

MeinRS6: timujin: The home furnaces, trains and factories weren't changed over because they suddenly realized there was other tech available, but because the people insisted in new regulations. Hard as it may be for you to get, this is an example of regulations improving the world.

But you can't pass a regulation that forces everyone to switch over to natural gas for heat, before no such tech, supply of gas, or infrastructure exists. So which comes first?

People switched over because it is nicer having gas run to your house than shoveling coal into a stove/furnace in the winter. The fact that it burns cleaner was a real plus.


Sure, people switched to gas, once it was available, but it wasn't the availability of gas that made these changes happen, it was the regulations. The initial push was for cleaner burning coal, not the use of natural gas, which is how Mellon convinced businesses to accept the regulations. The new processed coal created new business and led to increased employment. That's right, regulations increased employment.

The fact is that businesses didn't want to switch because it would cut into their profits, people didn't want to switch because it would cost them money to retrofit their homes. These were short-sighted problems and the long-term benefits of the change cost the people less than the initial expense. Change that wouldn't have happened otherwise, at least not then and doubtfully by now seeing how companies still fight environmental laws as strongly as they do.
 
2012-06-04 07:32:11 PM  

smells_like_meat: Damn Boomers and their damn EPA and Clean Air Act. Ruined everything. And because of them minorities can vote and do other stuff that a 3/5ths of a citizen shouldn't be able to do.


I think we've forgotten that there was a huge grassroots push for environmental changes in the 60s and 70s. I doubt Nixon was creating agencies and signing laws because he cared.
 
2012-06-04 07:48:52 PM  
And then unions killed the steel industry and the city became a bastion for the Democrats, which explains why it was in such financial dire straits for such a long time. Good thing that banking and tech came around to bail the city out.

/amidoinitrite?
//not entirely kidding
///just mostly
 
2012-06-04 07:54:00 PM  
Between high school and the war my grandfather and his friend had a little business shoveling the coal ash out of peoples stoves in Pittsburgh. I'm glad the thought of heating and cooking over coal is so foreign to me. Of course...my stove is electric..so..
 
2012-06-04 08:06:35 PM  

violentsalvation: Between high school and the war my grandfather and his friend had a little business shoveling the coal ash out of peoples stoves in Pittsburgh. I'm glad the thought of heating and cooking over coal is so foreign to me. Of course...my stove is electric..so..


When I was a kid in China, we cooked and warmed our houses with coal stoves. They were tiny little things (maybe 3 feet high?) that burned this: www.nature.com

My parents told me that I once burnt myself by touching the exterior surface of one.
 
2012-06-04 08:16:03 PM  
We can't even have a thread about the really amazing transformation of a major city without some cock shiatting the thread up. Love it.
 
2012-06-04 08:19:14 PM  

dorko16: We can't even have a thread about the really amazing transformation of a major city without some cock shiatting the thread up. Love it.


That's Fark.com. Trolling approved.
 
2012-06-04 08:20:40 PM  

GAT_00: dorko16: We can't even have a thread about the really amazing transformation of a major city without some cock shiatting the thread up. Love it.

That's Fark.com. Trolling approved mandatory.


FTFY. You don't want to hear bullshiat right-wing nonsense every goddamn second you're here? What are you, a communist Nazi Mexican Jew lizard?
 
2012-06-04 08:21:07 PM  
BUT THE EPA IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL!!! Infowars just taught me that.

Dammit, I guess I need to scrub more. Maybe until my skin bleeds.
 
2012-06-04 08:22:28 PM  
www.hedon.info

The stoves we used looked like this.
 
2012-06-04 08:23:14 PM  

Adolf Oliver Nipples: And then unions killed the steel industry and the city became a bastion for the Democrats, which explains why it was in such financial dire straits for such a long time. Good thing that banking and tech came around to bail the city out.

/amidoinitrite?
//not entirely kidding
///just mostly


9/10 from me. Pittsburgh has made a dramatic improvement even in the last 10 years or so.

My grandparents and parents used to tell me about days where it was pitch black in Pittsburgh in the middle of the afternoon. Now the air is much cleaner and the rivers are much clearer too.

But lets see how long it takes Corbett to screw that up as he continues to sell the state off to the oil industry.
 
2012-06-04 08:25:10 PM  
Interesting photos, but this phenomenon was hardly confined to one city.
 
2012-06-04 08:27:05 PM  
img.gawkerassets.com

As a Pittsburgher (and constant apologist of this most beautiful city), here's what it looks like now. Consistently rated one of the most livable cities in the world, Rent is cheap, we largely missed that whole recession thing - hiring rates barely saw a dip and are outpacing the rest of the East right now.

Most importantly, Pittsburgh is a shining light to communities wishing to shrug off their "rust belt" status. It is the greenest city I have ever seen - I mean that literally, you can see deep, lush forests from downtown office buildings. You are only ever minutes away from massive, beautiful parks. Not to mention 6 Universities, an amazing history for science geeks (Brashear, Langley, Buhl, Rachel Carson, etc.)


What are you doing man?!?!?! Pittsburgh doesn't need more people to move in. The highways can't even handle the traffic they have now.

It really is a miracle story too.

St. Louis was also in this story. I think they're trying to be like Pittsburgh in trying to diversify their economy more and away from manufacturing (I'm in health care myself). But Pittsburgh seems to be further ahead in the transition than we are.
 
2012-06-04 08:31:06 PM  
Looks like Shanghai!

/I have been going there a few times a year for work
//I can't go up 2 flights of stairs without trouble breathing (I am a runner and hiker)
///I have a new appreciation for government regulations
 
2012-06-04 08:32:57 PM  

Nadie_AZ: Tigger: For those interested in getting rid of the EPA and the Clean Air Act you can go and witness these scenes in Beijing today to see all the excellent benefits.

True capitalism .... in a communist country.


Yeah it is.... No seriously.
 
2012-06-04 08:36:06 PM  
But just imagine how much money rich owners of industry could make many jobs could be created if companies weren't burdened by this ridiculous concern with public health!
 
2012-06-04 08:37:49 PM  
Regulations sometimes suck and add costs. True. But for those who don't hunk we need EPA and other entities to be diligent...you forget why they were created. Because 30 years ago, it was like big cities in china are today. Polluted and disgusting. Maintain or improve, but don't undermine and destroy.
 
2012-06-04 08:45:00 PM  
www.pahighways.com

It's very heartwarming in other parts of PA too.
 
2012-06-04 08:45:39 PM  
Wasn't it Richard Nixon's visits to Pittsburgh while campaigning in 1960 and again in 1968 that spurred him to champion the creation of the EPA in the first place?
 
2012-06-04 08:50:17 PM  
I believe this marks the first time in history that Pittsburgh has been described as a paradise of any kind.
 
2012-06-04 08:52:43 PM  

MeinRS6: Didn't changes in technology have more to do with it than anything though?

It's tech that leads the way, not regs.

If everyone's home and offices were heated by burning coal on the site, then the air quality is worse than everyone having a furnace hooked up to natural gas or electricity.


Anything that threatens profit can motivate new development. Depleting the world of oil (hypothetically) would cause us to make new ways of generating energy. Lack of healthy, breathable air would not necessarily spur clean air tech so long as the market-makers could get theirs. The voice of the people (through regulations) can and will spur clean air technology.

Also, no individuals or corporations have the right to despoil a shared environment. It is the people's choice how their environment is sustained for themselves 'and their posterity'. Regulations are the closest thing we have to a cost assessment for environmental damage, air pollution, and the like. Deal with it.
 
2012-06-04 08:53:51 PM  
I heard that in St. Louis, nearly a century ago, the street lights had to be lit at noon, so drivers could see where they were going.
 
2012-06-04 08:59:45 PM  

Mrtraveler01: I think they're trying to be like Pittsburgh in trying to diversify their economy more and away from manufacturing (I'm in health care myself). But Pittsburgh seems to be further ahead in the transition than we are.


That's because the wealthy in Pittsburgh (especially the Mellon family) realized that manufacturing was dying and started pushing to diversify the city into tech and finance in the late 40s, which gave the city a head-start on everyone else.
 
2012-06-04 09:03:06 PM  
Ignorant dumbasses think that libertarian are against all regulations.
 
2012-06-04 09:05:37 PM  

RexTalionis: violentsalvation: Between high school and the war my grandfather and his friend had a little business shoveling the coal ash out of peoples stoves in Pittsburgh. I'm glad the thought of heating and cooking over coal is so foreign to me. Of course...my stove is electric..so..

When I was a kid in China, we cooked and warmed our houses with coal stoves. They were tiny little things (maybe 3 feet high?) that burned this: [www.nature.com image 300x266]

My parents told me that I once burnt myself by touching the exterior surface of one.


I bet the air quality sucks over there. I've seen photos of their cities and I think I would want a respirator if I was visiting. I know some Mexican families (in Mexico) who heat and cook everything with mesquite in a wood stove. It makes the homes awfully hot in the summer.

There is that huge fire in New Mexico and for the most part the smoke is blowing northeast toward Albuquerque and Santa Fe but for a few days it drifted into Arizona and I was breathing ponderosa smoke from 200-300 miles away. It sucked.
 
2012-06-04 09:09:15 PM  

OgreMagi: Ignorant dumbasses think that libertarian are against all regulations.


We have libertarians who think Food Safety standards and child labor laws are too excessive.

It's hard to find a regulation they are in agreement with.
 
2012-06-04 09:09:17 PM  

Dwight_Yeast: Mrtraveler01: I think they're trying to be like Pittsburgh in trying to diversify their economy more and away from manufacturing (I'm in health care myself). But Pittsburgh seems to be further ahead in the transition than we are.

That's because the wealthy in Pittsburgh (especially the Mellon family) realized that manufacturing was dying and started pushing to diversify the city into tech and finance in the late 40s, which gave the city a head-start on everyone else.


Not really. The banks were a holdover from industry (The Mellons were the big Financers for US Steel after all) and the tech was the remnant of the Steel industry (Pittsburgh still does a hell of a lot of manufacturing, just not at the scales previously seen).

The big surprise (sort of) is the growth of the medical cluster.
 
2012-06-04 09:11:19 PM  

Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: Dwight_Yeast: Mrtraveler01: I think they're trying to be like Pittsburgh in trying to diversify their economy more and away from manufacturing (I'm in health care myself). But Pittsburgh seems to be further ahead in the transition than we are.

That's because the wealthy in Pittsburgh (especially the Mellon family) realized that manufacturing was dying and started pushing to diversify the city into tech and finance in the late 40s, which gave the city a head-start on everyone else.

Not really. The banks were a holdover from industry (The Mellons were the big Financers for US Steel after all) and the tech was the remnant of the Steel industry (Pittsburgh still does a hell of a lot of manufacturing, just not at the scales previously seen).

The big surprise (sort of) is the growth of the medical cluster.


Seems like the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon to a smaller extent from a research standpoint had a large role in that.
 
2012-06-04 09:14:02 PM  
Ahhh Coal. The USA has seemingly unlimited amounts of ultra polluting and dirty energy.

Screw that. Go solar.
 
2012-06-04 09:15:46 PM  

violentsalvation: I bet the air quality sucks over there. I've seen photos of their cities and I think I would want a respirator if I was visiting. I know some Mexican families (in Mexico) who heat and cook everything with mesquite in a wood stove. It makes the homes awfully hot in the summer.

There is that huge fire in New Mexico and for the most part the smoke is blowing northeast toward Albuquerque and Santa Fe but for a few days it drifted into Arizona and I was breathing ponderosa smoke from 200-300 miles away. It sucked.


Well, I moved away in the 90s. When I go back, the air quality is kind of a mix bag. Some days it's bright and sunny and the sky is blue, other days, it's extremely hazy. Worst I saw of it was Beijing in the December right after the Olympic Games. When our plane touch down at Beijing International Airport, there was about 30-50 feet visibility. Anything beyond that is hidden by a dense orange haze that smelled like coal ash and ink. Made for a bit of a hairy landing, as you might imagine.
 
2012-06-04 09:18:08 PM  

Thrag: I believe this marks the first time in history that Pittsburgh has been described as a paradise of any kind.


Keep in mind, these are people who consider fries on a sandwich to be "cuisine"
 
2012-06-04 09:18:19 PM  

Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: The big surprise (sort of) is the growth of the medical cluster.


That's been the direction it's been heading for years. UPMC in particular, but there are others. Strange for a town once known for coal, coke and steel production to become known for some of the best hospitals and medical research facilities in the world. Cleveland is in a similar boat, their river caught fire twice but today they have some world renowned medical facilities. Of course they still can't football properly.
 
2012-06-04 09:19:49 PM  

Mrtraveler01: OgreMagi: Ignorant dumbasses think that libertarian are against all regulations.

We have libertarians who think Food Safety standards and child labor laws are too excessive.

It's hard to find a regulation they are in agreement with.


They disagree with regulations until you beat them over the head with evidence that said regulations are, y'know, good. And even then, it often doesn't take.
 
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