The vast and widely used PFAS family of chemicals is causing serious worries across the country, as it turns up in more and more drinking water systems. Pressure to regulate it is also growing, but with mixed results. This week’s TipSheet offers a detailed look-ahead on this big, developing story, with a walk-through of the context, what the EPA is (and isn’t) doing, and why states are stepping up.
Northwest (OR WA)
"A leafy little tunnel runs through the undergrowth along the Black River in the Seattle suburb of Renton: an otter trail. It’s in hidey-holes like this that river otters leave detailed evidence of human misdeeds. Just downstream, in the Duwamish River, droppings left by river otters reveal toxic PCBs and other industrial waste."
Bears, particularly the plentiful black bears that are the source of much human-bear conflict, can serve as a opening to larger environmental stories, such as habitat destruction and the challenges of the “wildland-urban interface.” This week’s TipSheet has some of the good news/bad news on bears, with story ideas and resources for your reporting.
"Washington state voters on Tuesday rejected Initiative 1631, a proposed carbon fee on fossil-fuel emissions that spurred the biggest ballot-measure spending spree in state history."
"Oregon Gov. Kate Brown issued an executive order Thursday blocking offshore drilling, joining several other states trying to shield themselves from the Trump administration's plan to drill for oil and gas off the U.S. coast."
"Officials with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are proposing to scale back the scope and cost of the Portland Harbor Superfund cleanup."
Climate, environment and energy issues figure prominently in the upcoming Nov. 6 elections, whether in individual races, ballot measures or significant power shifts. This week’s TipSheet provides starting points to track relevant races, and runs down 11 big environmental ballots, ranging from measures like a carbon tax in Washington state and drilling ban in Florida, to tight congressional races in California, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Dakota, South Carolina and Virginia.
When it comes to facing the risks of coming climate change, cities and states are leading the way for the United States. That means planning for future emissions reductions, as well as preparing for probable impacts. This week’s TipSheet has the story, with details on which local governments are acting and resources to find more, plus ten key questions to ask.
Local dams are threatened with floods brought by Hurricane Florence. But already, many of these dams were being removed after decades of building them up, as part of a growing effort to limit harm to the environment and hazards to local communities. This week’s TipSheet explains the trend, highlights some examples and points the way to databases and other resources to find and report on dams in your area.
It’s a blockbuster — literally. Homes by the tens of thousands are at risk of being lost to coastal flooding in coming years, communities broken up thanks to climate change. This week’s TipSheet tells you how to find the data to tell the story and provides examples of model reporting.