Laws & Regulations

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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Coal Ash Ruling Will Generate Piles of State-level News

Now that a top court has tossed out parts of coal ash disposal rules, also in question is a planned loosening under the Trump EPA. That means potential state-level stories on how this coal combustion byproduct may threaten environmental health and water supplies. This week’s TipSheet runs down the issue and suggests resources and questions to ask.

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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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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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Environmental Protections in Play Amid Farm Bill Furor

Big environmental issues such as the use of pesticides, labelling of organic foods and the preservation of farmland and water are central to a huge farm bill lurching its way through the nation’s legislature, hamstrung by partisan politics. Our latest Backgrounder sets up the landscape for your coverage.

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Disappearing ‘Climate,’ EPA FOIA Surge, Pipeline Docs Ruling and More

A reporter reveals that the National Park Service is deleting references to climate change in an upcoming study of sea level rise, and FOIA requesters are behind a record surge in information lawsuits involving Pruitt EPA. That, plus Keystone XL Pipeline documents and more, in the latest WatchDog.

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Are Fluorinated Chemicals Contaminating Your Local Drinking Water?

A family of widely used fluorinated chemicals may be contaminating local drinking water supplies, causing uncertain health effects and with little clarity over federal regulations. But some states are starting to step in. This week’s TipSheet unwinds the confusion over PFAS, with some backstory and plenty of resources for your local coverage.

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