A massive farm bill soon to emerge for debate in Congress will have enormous implications for the environment beat, affecting natural resources, environmental health and climate, not to mention food production and public health. Backgrounder lays out some of the key issues expected to be taken up in the twice-a-decade measure and provides resources for ongoing coverage.
March 15, 2023 — If justice delayed is justice denied, can the same be said of information? The Freedom of Information Act requires federal agencies to respond to requests for documents within 20 business days, barring “unusual circumstances.” But an SEJ review finds that key federal environmental agencies are taking months and even years to respond to records requests.
Geothermal has long been hyped as the next big thing in renewable energy, but its breakthrough moment hasn’t happened yet. Barriers to expansion include the elusiveness of sites offering the magic trio of heat, water and permeability and concern for unique ecosystems. Contributor Jessica McKenzie on geothermal energy’s possibilities and challenges and the government funding that may finally fire it up.
When humans began to put down roots, we also started to forge what Giulio Boccaletti calls a “social contract” with water. In his new book, “Water: A Biography,” the London-based scientist explores that relationship through a long historical lens. BookShelf contributor Gary Wilson reviews the volume and finds that political ambitions and economic development are central to the story.
Under federal rules, states can decide whether to divulge information about hazardous materials rolling along their railways — and mostly they don’t. Not knowing where and when hazmat trains are traveling or what’s on board creates anxiety and raises the risk for those who live near the tracks. TipSheet offers resources and step-by-step instructions for investigating railway hazmat threats to your community.
Industrial hog farmers tout swine biogas as a clean, green energy source, but others point to its messy side. A young journalist who investigated the underreported stench of environmental racism associated with this technology learned valuable lessons along the way to producing a feature story that won her a Society of Environmental Journalists’ award for outstanding student reporting.
Abandoned oil and gas wells are found in significant numbers in some 27 states. Reporters who want to track their status can dig into several databases, but will need to support their data crunching with lots of shoe-leather and ground-truth reporting. Reporter’s Toolbox has insights into what the databases offer. Plus, a primer on API numbers.
Two journalists covering water policy used a wide range of reporting techniques, from FOIA appeals to on-the-ground reporting, to get at the heart of how problems with wetlands and waterways in the United States are tied to climate change concerns. Inside Story spoke with Hannah Northey and Kevin Bogardus of E&E News about their award-winning beat reporting.