They may not be the sexiest topics on the environmental agenda. But building codes and zoning can become a matter of life and death when natural disasters strike. This week’s TipSheet runs down the reporting challenge when floods, earthquakes and wildfires threaten your coverage area.
People & Population
Health risks from unsafe drinking water afflict many, not only around the world, but in the United States too, especially the poor, ethnic minorities and those in remote rural areas. The latest Issue Backgrounder looks at this undercovered environmental justice story, and offers ideas and resources for how reporters can cover it.
Lead is not just poisoning much of the U.S. drinking water supply. It’s also a threat to millions of the nation’s children, who continue to ingest lead paint chips from older housing stock decades after lead paint was banned. This week’s TipSheet explores this perennial problem and offers resources for local coverage.
"BarbiAnn Maynard tossed a thick stack of blue papers, years of her water bills, on the table. One side of each water bill showed what she owed. On the other side were notices of drinking water violations—high levels of carcinogenic chemicals—found in Martin County, Kentucky’s water supply. By the time she received them in the mail, the toxins had been in the water for months."
"The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday gave the green light to two class-action lawsuits filed by residents of Flint, Michigan who are pursing civil rights claims against local and state officials over lead contamination in the city’s water supply."
"The U.S. Department of Interior on Tuesday will auction off more than 51,000 acres (21,000 hectares) in southeastern Utah for oil and gas development, over objections from conservationists, who say the move threatens sensitive archaeological and wilderness sites."
"A new survey by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows that today, only about 5 percent of Americans, 16 years old and older, actually hunt. That's half of what it was 50 years ago and the decline is expected to accelerate over the next decade."
"Climate change will result in a massive movement of people inside countries and across borders, creating “hotspots” where tens of millions pour into already crowded slums, according to the World Bank."
"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has objected to a wetland permit for the proposed Back Forty Mine in Michigan's western Upper Peninsula near the Wisconsin border."
"KAKUMA, Kenya — These barren plains of sand and stone have always known lean times: times when the rivers run dry and the cows wither day by day, until their bones are scattered under the acacia trees. But the lean times have always been followed by normal times, when it rains enough to rebuild herds, repay debts, give milk to the children and eat meat a few times each week."