Southwest (AZ NM OK TX)

Clearing the Smoke — Collaboration Exposes Impacts of Wildfire Pollution-Reporting Rules

Climate change is fueling the frequency and severity of wildfires, but a little-known Clean Air Act rule lets environmental agencies downplay the impacts of wildfire smoke. A collaborative investigation into this loophole connected dots that even the experts didn’t know about. Journalists Dillon Bergin and Molly Peterson explain their reporting process and offer advice for following your own local leads.

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January 22, 2024

DEADLINE: Advancing Democracy Fellowship

Hearken, Trusting News and Solutions Journalism Network are inviting 20 U.S.-based newsroom teams to apply for this fellowship which is designed to help newsrooms think big, plan long term and reinvent coverage of politics, governance and elections with and for their communities. Deadline is Jan 22, 2024.


‘Major’ Problem in Texas: Polluters Evade Federal Law and Get Away With It

"Industrial developers describe facilities as “minor” polluters to avoid federal permitting requirements, and environmental lawyers say the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality lets it happen."

Source: Inside Climate News, 01/03/2024

"Floatovoltaics Could Help The Southwest Generate Power And Conserve Water"

"Just southeast of Phoenix, over 150 miles of canals sit uncovered in one of the hottest and driest regions of the country. The Gila River Indian community’s solar panel project, which would cover some of those canals with solar panels, could be the start of a new wave of such solar projects, known as floatovoltaics."

Source: Yale Climate Connections, 01/03/2024

Recycled Sewage Water — Overcoming the ‘Yuck Factor’

Toilet-to-tap water jokes aside, the technology and economics of turning sewage into potable drinking water is increasingly seen as a remedy for water-stressed communities. The new BookShelf review of “Purified: How Recycled Sewage is Transforming Our Water,” explains how water shortages, climate change, unsustainable growth and other factors have led some communities, most recently Los Angeles, to consider going “all in” on purified wastewater.

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New Mexico Extends Ban On Oil And Gas Leasing Around Sacred Chaco Park

"New oil and natural gas leasing will be prohibited on state land surrounding Chaco Culture National Historical Park, an area sacred to Native Americans, for the next 20 years under an executive order by New Mexico Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard."

Source: AP, 12/15/2023

"‘A Scam All Around’: Navajo Nation Groups Oppose Hydropower Projects"

"Navajo Nation environmentalists are opposing a “self-described jet setter” and French millionaire’s plans for a massive hydropower project they claim will adversely affect the land, water, wildlife, plants and cultural resources of the largest land area held by Indigenous American peoples in the US."

Source: Guardian, 12/12/2023

"CDC Issues Health Alert For Deadly Tick-Borne Disease"

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday warned clinicians and the public about an outbreak of a rare but deadly tick-borne disease that hospitalized five patients in Southern California, killing three of them, after they traveled to or lived in a Mexican border city in recent months."

Source: Washington Post, 12/11/2023

Student Journalists Show the Way on Data With Methane Flaring Project

The global warming gas methane was much in the news at the start of the just-ended COP28 climate meeting, with a final Biden administration rule to trim releases by the fossil fuel industry. But when it comes to good journalism on the problem, the latest Reporter’s Toolbox spotlights the work of a team of journalism students who used sophisticated satellite data to tell the story of underreported methane flaring at drilling sites.

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