World’s Top Environmental Success Stories

By Tom Randall and Eric Roston - 2012-09-18T01:07:59Z

Photograph by AP Photo

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Poisonous Water

The Cuyahoga River, in northeastern Ohio, caught fire many times before a conflagration in June 1969 was picked up widely by national media. "Some river! Chocolate-brown, oily, bubbling with subsurface gases, it oozes rather than flows,"Time magazine wrote.

The fire, which nearly destroyed two railroad bridges that spanned the river, fueled environmental politics and led to the landmark Clean Water Act. Today, the law governs cleanup of generations-old pollution, such as the Cuyahoga River, as well as new episodes of contamination as they happen, such as the Enbridge oil spill in Michigan.

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