Backgrounders

Amid the Fog of Policy, Reporting on Pesticide Regulation

Pesticides are a big environmental story. And under Trump, they are much in the news. But pesticide regulation, and its political, environmental and public health fallout, is an older and more complex tale. The Backgrounder explains how the rules work (and don't), and provides leads and resources for your reporting.

 
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As Power Goes Out, Time To Design a More Resilient Grid?

Hurricane Irma left millions of Floridians in the dark, while Maria stripped Puerto Ricans of power, potentially for months. Can the electric grid be made less vulnerable? Our Backgrounder has a dozen-plus angles to jump-start your power reporting, from stronger poles to microgrids. Plus, hurricane coverage resources.

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Beware Gateway Bugs Bringing Insect-Borne Disease

It's a deadly threat only fitfully reported by news media. But coverage of insect-borne diseases could be improved by environmental journalists who understand the intersection of bugs, humans and climate. A two-part Issue Backgrounder with basics, key resources and a rundown on significant illnesses brought by mosquitoes, and by ticks and other insects

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To Report on Drinking Water, Know Its Source

Safe drinking water is a long-standing challenge left unmet all across the United States. As our latest Issue Backgrounder explains, telling the story of drinkable water requires digging beneath complex relationships, understanding the sources of drinking water and much more. Here's help to do it.

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Hurricane Season Brings Surprises, and Surprising Depth

Atlantic hurricane season is underway, and our latest Issue Backgrounder helps reporters get prepared, not just for the inevitable surprises, but also for the new issues these storms are raising. Plus, as part of our recent series: An Inside Story on award-winning storm coverage and a TipSheet on covering hurricanes

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Lead in Drinking Water Remains Widespread Problem

More stories about lead contamination of drinking water are unfolding around the country, even as the Flint disaster lingers. A new Issue Backgrounder details how lead gets into drinking water, how it leads to health problems among the most prevalent in the United States, and what solutions might address the crisis.

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Trump Review of Auto Emissions Standards Upsets Deal

Has President Donald Trump really unraveled Obama-era auto mileage standards and the climate policy they supported? Far from it, explains our latest Backgrounder. Here's why true change on auto emissions will take much more than a presidential fiat. And get angles and sources to report the ongoing issue. 

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More Controversy in Pipeline for Pipelines

Keystone XL and Dakota Access may be the biggest pipeline stories so far, but they're far from the last, as dozens of other pipeline proposals come into play. Track this developing beat with our latest Issue Backgrounder, which provides a walkthrough of legal and regulatory challenges, and a case-by-case rundown.

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Turbulent Prospects on Environment-Energy Beat Likely in Trump Era

While it's too soon to tell what the new Trump administration and 115th Congress will do, our special report suggests we may see a groundswell of environmental deregulation and massive energy development. Backgrounder looks at the top 10 energy-environment issues to watch in the President Trump era. 

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Will State, Local Government Replace Feds on Climate Change?

Even if the incoming Trump Administration retreats from climate action, as many fear, state and local governments may fill the gap on climate policy. Our latest Issue Backgrounder takes a closer look, and offers sources and resources to help you cover the more localized climate stories that may result.

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