The story of hexavalent chromium, a carcinogen, in drinking water is not over, even though Erin Brockovich's legal victory was vaunted in a film 13 years ago. Groundwater near Hinkley, Calif., is still polluted. The story of how industry clout has kept EPA delaying regulation of chromium in drinking water is a tale of the chemical industry's ability to manipulate regulation by sowing doubt. But recent highly dramatized stories on chrome-6 in drinking water may not have helped much, to the extent that they downplayed natural background levels, the importance of dose, and the statistical problems in identifying cancer clusters. The whole saga raises key issues about public relations, lobbying, regulatory politics, the legal system, environmental journalism, and the protection of public health.
Journalism & Media
"Most city governments on the mainland withheld vital information on pollution from the public last year, with many scaling back their disclosure to protect polluters as economic growth slowed, two major environmental organisations said in a study released in Beijing yesterday."
"CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- A judge in Casper has sided with the state of Wyoming and ruled against environmentalists who sought to obtain lists of the ingredients that go into hydraulic fracturing fluids."
"A Washington County judge [Wednesday] morning ordered unsealed a court-approved settlement between Marcellus Shale development companies and a family that claimed the drilling operations damaged their health."
SEJ members and staff mourn the loss of award-winning environmental journalist Kathie Durbin, an SEJ member since 1996. A dedicated reporter and author, determined to make her final deadline, Kathie completed her last book before passing on March 15, 2013; The Columbia River Gorge: Bridging a Great Divide is scheduled to be published by OSU Press. Read Cascadia Times colleague Paul Koberstein's tribute to Kathie, as well as other coverage, and post your remembrances here. © Image: Courtesy Elizabeth Feryl.
Jerry Redfern has worked as a professional photojournalist for 20 years. He began his career as a staff photographer at newspapers in Montana and Wyoming, at a time when papers still had darkrooms and photographers still processed their own film. In 2012, Jerry became the first winner in the new SEJ Awards category, Outstanding Photography. Image: A mother paddles her children down the Sepon River in a canoe made from fuel tanks dropped by US bombers during the Vietnam War. © Jerry Redfern.
"SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- An undercover video that showed California cows struggling to stand as they were prodded to slaughter by forklifts led to the largest meat recall in U.S. history. In Vermont, a video of veal calves skinned alive and tossed like sacks of potatoes ended with the plant's closure and criminal convictions."
"Now in a pushback led by the meat and poultry industries, state legislators across the country are introducing laws making it harder for animal welfare advocates to investigate cruelty and food safety cases.
An Associated Press analysis of data on Freedom of Information Act requests showed little increase in the number of FOIA requests from the public, a slight increase in rejection of such requests, and an increase in federal claims that such rejections were justified by security and internal deliberations.
"Makers of the specialty cocktails used to crack open the Earth and set loose gobs of oil and gas are sparring once again on behalf of their corner of the energy industry."