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When Jamie Valdez was growing up on Pueblo’s east side in the 1970s, his family would head to the drive-in and pass the fresh slag heaps dumped outside the steel plant, glowing orange in the twilight of a long workday.
At the time, he didn’t connect his childhood asthma to the carbon dioxide released from the mill as it turned iron into those molten blobs. Nor did Valdez link his respiratory problems then to the nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide and particulate pollution and ozone from the carbon-belching industries surrounding Pueblo, like so many torches.
Comanche coal power plant, still sending 6.6 million tons of carbon dioxide skyward, annually. Pueblo cement plant, nearly 740,000 tons of carbon. Steel plant, more than…
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