Water & Oceans
The Southern Environmental Law Center's top 10 places in America's South that face "immediate, potentially irreparable threats in 2009" represent a cross-section of the major environmental issues facing these states.
In one of many last-minute actions, the Bush administration delayed a decision on a drinking water standard for the contaminant perchlorate (used in rocket fuel, explosives, fireworks, and many other industrial products, and also occurs naturally), but issued a temporary advisory recommendation. This has immediate implications for at least 31 large US utilities, and perhaps hundreds more.
When water providers find pharmaceuticals in drinking water, they rarely tell the public.
After Congressional Democrats criticized them for suppressing a report on toxic substances in the Great Lakes, and after an independent investigative journalism group published excerpts, the Centers for Disease Control finally published it March 12, 2008.
Can the public be trusted with information about drugs in their drinking water?
For more than seven months, the nation's top public health agency has blocked the publication of an exhaustive federal study of environmental hazards in the eight Great Lakes states.
A Congressional Research Service report on terrorism and security issues facing sewage treatment and drinking water plants, dams and reservoirs, and other water infrastructure is full of ideas that reporters could turn into local stories — if only they were allowed to see it.
A series of drinking-water contamination incidents have raised doubts about EPA's safety claims regarding hydraulic fracturing in domestic gas wells. And it's hard for people to get to the bottom of those claims when the identity of the chemicals injected during the process is protected as a "trade secret."
EPA says it can tell you how much of the herbicide atrazine may be in your drinking water - but you will have to swear not to tell anyone.