New rules on soot may soon be on the way and will likely stir up the long-standing controversy over air pollution from particulate matter. The latest TipSheet has the backstory on the pending regulations, reviews human health impacts and offers a range of story ideas and reporting resources for environmental journalists to tell the story on a local and regional basis.
A new data tool that captures information on 1.5 million-plus active U.S. oil and gas production facilities can be a powerful tool for journalists looking to report on potential pollutants, especially when overlaid with local census data, school locations and the like. Reporter’s Toolbox takes a closer look at the new Oil & Gas Threat Map, shares caveats and offers story ideas.
Millions of Americans rely on their own onsite wastewater treatment, commonly known as septic systems. And many of those systems are connected to private wells. But unless they are properly sited, designed, built and maintained, they can contaminate drinking water, bringing dangerous waterborne illnesses. The latest TipSheet explains how to turn this often ignored issue into a local story.
A casual query from an editor prompted an investigative reporter to pair up with a data journalism reporter at a partner news organization to dig into the risks that thousands of dry oil wells across California posed to surrounding communities, including many low-income Latino neighborhoods. How the resulting award-winning series came together, in an Inside Story Q&A with reporter Mark Olalde.
The public’s right to know about toxic and hazardous chemicals is currently limited by trade secret rules that no longer serve any true purpose, argues the new WatchDog Opinion column. And a pending federal rulemaking is an opportunity for journalists to make the case to draw back the curtain, for the sake of their reporting and so that they can better cover their communities’ risks.
As the weather grows warmer, air pollution from smog typically worsens, as does smoke from spreading wildfires. The latest Reporter’s Toolbox spotlights the data that can help improve your coverage, whether via an easy-to-use report on the state of the air from a prominent nonprofit, or straight from various quality EPA data resources. Find help getting started on your air pollution coverage projects now.
A new ban is to be imposed on the last kind of asbestos still imported into the United States for use in commerce. But as the Issue Backgrounder explains, the regulatory back-and-forth over the substance by recent administrations won’t alleviate the biggest U.S. problem, which is the long history of its use in a wide range of building materials and other uses raising ongoing occupational risks.
Lead poisoning of U.S. drinking water has been a big headline-grabber in recent years, but there’s an even bigger environmental justice crisis — toxic lead exposure from paint. The latest TipSheet reports that this overlooked school and housing issue is getting new attention, but solving it will be difficult and expensive. Get context, reporting resources and ideas to tackle the story in your community.
Environmental writer Allison Cobb, in “Plastic: An Autobiography,” tells the story of the ubiquitous material through a series of interwoven narratives that range from her own experiences with it (including a discarded plastic car bumper), to the corporate origins of its spread and the way it’s now dangerously carpeting nature and damaging human communities. Contributor Nano Riley has a review in our new BookShelf.
As schools (and many other institutions) around the United States relax mask mandates, questions remain about how they will keep indoor air clean and safe. The latest TipSheet takes a look at the often-underestimated risks of indoor air pollution, as well as well-known practices to clean it up. Get story ideas and resources for reporting on schools in your community.