Because a large bulk of the South has factories and refineries. Basically after the civil war the South had to turn to industry (because they were massively bankrupt from fighting and then losing the Civil War). They had a large group of people who needed jobs (especially now that slaves had been freed) that they could pay very small wages. This obviously led them to industry. Today massive environmental issues plague the South. Probably the most well known is “caner alley” in Louisiana. below is a link
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