The battle over environment and energy issues may ultimately come down to U.S. courts, where, unlike Congress and White House, the GOP doesn't hold sway ... yet. This week's TipSheet looks at a dozen major legal issues making news in 2018, like wetlands protection, and offers story ideas and resources to cover them.
Northeast (CT MA ME NH NJ NY RI VT)
"A federal judge has handed a win to South Portland, Maine over a pipeline company that wants to send tar sands oil through the city, a proposal seen as opening a path for Canada's crude to reach the East Coast for export."
"A new threat to New England's shellfish industry seems to be establishing itself more firmly, and regulators are trying to stay ahead of potentially deadly blooms of toxic algae that may be driven by climate change."
Long-standing disputes over exploitation of public lands bubble over as the Trump administration advances campaign promises to ease restrictions on energy development. A special TipSheet, part of our 2018 Journalists' Guide to Energy & Environment, has resources for covering public lands-related issues as they play out in the coming year.
"New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said he would consider a bill in his last month in office that would subsidize the state's nuclear power plants to prevent them from retiring early, sparking criticism from some energy companies and environmental and public interest groups on Friday."
Trying to figure out the air quality in your coverage area? The EPA may not be much help. But this week's TipSheet suggests some effective work-arounds for your reporting. Get the backstory on ozone standards, tips on how to track ozone "nonattainment" for your area and learn why smog matters so much to public health.
"In public health circles, New York City is known for its long war on lead poisoning. ... A 2004 housing law targeted 'elimination' of childhood lead poisoning within six years.... Yet inspectors didn’t visit the Brooklyn apartment where Barbara Ellis lived until after her twin daughters tested high for lead three years in a row, she said."
"Besides lead, no contaminant in drinking water has provoked as loud a public outcry in the last two years in the United States as a class of chemicals known as perfluorinated compounds. New Jersey regulators are taking the strongest action to date on the man-made chemicals that are used in scores of household and industrial products."
An EPA program that helps pay for municipal water infrastructure is facing Congressional appropriations scrutiny. But with the program looking like it may escape big cuts, it remains a reservoir of reportable local projects. Find out more in the latest TipSheet, plus get state-by-state resources.