While environmental themes were less prominent at the Sundance Film Festival this year, our correspondent JoAnn Valenti unearthed ecological messages from documentaries that explore the emergence of climate change refugees in the face of sea level rise, the escape from modernity into wilderness and the confrontation of environmental threats by young innovators.
Coal ash can contaminate surface and ground water with toxic heavy metals. But as this week’s TipSheet reports, Trump deregulation aims to loosen EPA rules on its disposal. That may mean a big local pollution story. If journalists can find the data, that is. The latest on the new rules, plus resources for coverage.
"Robert Taylor isn't sure why he's alive. 'My mother succumbed to bone cancer. My brother had lung cancer,' he ticks them off on his fingers. 'My sister, I think it was cervical cancer. My nephew lung cancer.' A favorite cousin. That cousin's son. Both neighbors on one side, one neighbor on the other. 'And here I am.'"
There’s little cause to celebrate upcoming Sunshine Week for those who cover Trump administration environmental agencies. The latest WatchDog catalogues how the EPA has adopted a secretive approach and displays frequent hostility to the news media, including with a troubling series of attacks on individual journalists.
"Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine sued agricultural giant Monsanto on Monday, alleging the company concealed dangers posed by a toxic chemical compound it manufactured for nearly a half century."
"U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday nominated a Dow Chemicals lawyer to head-up an Environmental Protection Agency unit that oversees hazardous waste disposal and chemical spills from toxic 'Superfund' sites."
"By 2019, a weed killing chemical—designed to be used in tandem with genetically modified cotton and soybean seeds—is projected to be sprayed on more than 60 million acres of monarch butterfly U.S. migratory habitat, according to a report released today by the Center for Biological Diversity."
"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lessened protections for crops and wildlife habitats after Monsanto Co. supplied research that presented lower estimates of how far the weed killer dicamba can drift, according to a review of federal documents."
"A judge has ordered California agricultural officials to stop spraying pesticides on public and private property to control insects that threaten the state’s $45-billion agriculture industry."
"U.S. EPA is planning to shut down a grant-making center that supports leading-edge research on human exposure to pollution and its effects."