For 75 years St. Louis has had a smoke problem. It has had a smoke commissioner ever since Lee surrendered. And it still has smoke—on windless winter days aviators flying toward the city see, rising over the skyscrapers and chimneys, a vast bulging black parachute of mixed fog and soot that blots out the world below. Suburbanites driving to work on sunny mornings switch on their car lights as they approach the business district and drive into what looks like a gigantic rusty iron wall rising from the pavement to the sky—the smoke that lies thick and russet-green under...

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