Environmental Politics

Private Companies Pump Cash from Troubled Municipal Drinking Water Systems

Millions of Americans are served by private rather than public water systems. And while that may be helpful in the case of the tens of thousands of smaller systems that lack key resources, it also raises controversial questions about privatization, as well as about what’s best to insure drinking water safety in a post-Flint era. The latest Backgrounder explains this complex issue, considers the most critical issues and offers resources to report the story in your area.

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Farm Bill May Stir Up Local Hornets’ Nest on Pesticides

​Local pesticide bans that go beyond federal restrictions may be a growing trend, but it’s one that has brought on a backlash by GOP politicians and farmers. The conflict may soon be resolved — or not — by Congress, as it closes in on a new U.S. Farm Bill. Meanwhile, this week’s TipSheet helps explain the dispute and provides resources and signs to watch.

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​Taking Office as EPA Acting Administrator, Wheeler Gets Realer

​The presence of a new acting administrator at EPA in the wake of Scott Pruitt’s resignation may mean a change in tone and a renewed openness for journalists covering the agency. But it doesn’t appear to mean different policy approaches. This week’s TipSheet reports on the early days of former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler’s command, with a roundup of coverage and angles to watch.

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Will State, Local Pesticide Bans Make More News?

When EPA falls short on regulation of pesticides, might states step into the breach? That’s exactly what happened in June when Hawaii banned toxic organophosphate chlorpyrifos. To take a closer look, this week’s TipSheet reports on how federal regulation opens the door for state, or even local, preemption and offers angles and resources for environmental reporters.

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“What the Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City”

​The tale of the Flint, Michigan, drinking water crisis is told anew in a just-released book by a key protagonist in the tragedy. Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha’s “What the Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City” is written with a grace, clarity, honesty and passion that our BookShelf editor Tom Henry says brings a unique perspective to this important story of American environmental injustice.

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Author Sees Flint at Intersection of Democracy, Environmental Injustice

A key figure in the Flint, Mich., drinking water crisis, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, talks with SEJournal’s Between the Lines about her new book on the tragedy, and how she hopes telling the tale of the intersection of environmental injustice, racism, poverty and democracy might provide inspiration for other communities.

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Breaking the ‘Cycle’ on Chemical Safety Story

Chemical plant explosions make for fiery headlines, but then the reporting tends to flame out. The latest Backgrounder spells out why environmental journalists should stay vigilant on chemical safety coverage, with news hooks and ingredients for a potent mix of advance stories.

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EPA Inaction Leaves Smog an Endless Summer Story

It’s summer smog season, with all its unpleasant environmental and health impacts. But if you’re reporting on this perpetual problem, you may not be able to rely on the EPA to help you figure out where it is worst. This week’s TipSheet explains, then helps get you started on your own smog coverage.

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Media Object as EPA Bars Reporters from Drinking Water ‘Summit’

​Is EPA antipathy toward news media hiding inaction on a toxic drinking water contaminant? That’s the question asked by the latest WatchDog, which looks at a recent incident in which media access to a public meeting was limited, and then explores what may be behind it.

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Will Climate Change Sink Your Favorite Park?

The Trump administration unsuccessfully tried to hold back a flood of information on how sea level rise may inundate the nation’s park system. But now a new report yields wave after wave of stories, depending on your coverage area. TipSheet explains how to make smart use of the just-released document.

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