MagCorp Magnesium Chloride Plant, Utah

This remote plant employs a few hundred people in an intensely industrialized site on the edge of the Great Salt Lake. It produces all the magnesium metal made in the United States, a material used mostly in metals. For many years, according to the EPA, this plant was the nation’s worst air polluter, releasing hundreds of tons of chlorine per day from its stack, which was around 90% of the chlorine emitted into the atmosphere from all sources nationwide. After a federal lawsuit was filed against the company in the late 1990s, claiming nearly $1 billion for environmental infractions, the company that owned the plant, MagCorp, filed for bankruptcy protection. A new company, called U.S. Magnesium, now operates the plant, and has cleaned up much of its emissions, releasing a few tons of chlorine per day, as opposed to a few hundred tons, as it did in the 1980s.