Aftershocks of the April 17, 2013, ammonium nitrate explosion in West, Texas, continue — including investigations by news organizations as well as state and federal agencies. A major multistate investigative project by the Associated Press could only get data for 28 of the 50 states, but within those states it found that more than 600,000 people live within a typical blast zone and more had family in schools and hospitals within one.
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Seattle-based InvestigateWest published a feature package last summer documenting illegal parkland conversions in Michigan, New York City, and Oklahoma. They could not cover all the other states — that was left for you to do, with the assistance of their database of some 40,000 federal grants under the Land and Water Conservation Fund.Topics on the Beat:
News stories about the April 17, 2013, explosion of a fertilizer storage plant in the town of West, Texas that killed 15 people have so far focused on the plant operator's risk-disclosure failure, instead of the likely fact that government agencies knew the nature and magnitude of the hazard — or should have known. The bigger story is the regulatory failure — and industry's decades-long campaign to keep the public ignorant of the threats they face. Photo: AP/LM Otero/Available through Creative Commons.Topics on the Beat:
The two New York Times journalists were working on private land with the permission of the landowner, near Winnsboro in northeast Texas, when they were detained, according to the online energy publication FuelFix. The 78-year-old owner of the land, who objects to the routing of the pipeline across it, was also arrested for trespassing on her own land.
Nadia White interviews San Antonio Express-News reporter Colin McDonald, who's built his newspaper career at the intersection of environmental news and adventure writing.SEJ Publication Types:Topics on the Beat:
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The American Bird Conservancy has gone to court after the Interior Department stonewalled its Freedom-of-Information-Act requests for correspondence between feds and the wind industry on how potential wind projects in 10 states might affect birds and bats.Region:
The information would still have to be provided to the state. Companies would not gain immunity from enforcement merely by auditing themselves.
Most current fracking operations happen on non-federal lands. But on federal lands, things are different — Obama intends to require disclosure of fluids as a condition of new leases for fracking on federal lands. If it takes place, this could push the ingredient lists further into the open.Region: