Government

Climate Change Action May Depend on Supreme Court

A milestone legal challenge soon to be decided by the U.S. high court could severely limit how the U.S. government regulates the greenhouse gasses that cause climate change. The new Issue Backgrounder takes a look at West Virginia v. EPA, its legal implications, the politics behind it and what it would mean for efforts to curb future impacts of global warming.

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Data Bazaar at the EPA’s Environmental Dataset Gateway

An intriguing portal to the vast data resources of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — the Environmental Dataset Gateway — could lead to many hidden story ideas, suggests the latest Reporter’s Toolbox. Find out more about the EDG and consider a handful of possible angles, including PCB transformer registrations, precipitation, heat-related hospitalizations and chemicals in consumer products.

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Should EPA Chemical Risk Info Remain a ‘Trade Secret’?

The public’s right to know about toxic and hazardous chemicals is currently limited by trade secret rules that no longer serve any true purpose, argues the new WatchDog Opinion column. And a pending federal rulemaking is an opportunity for journalists to make the case to draw back the curtain, for the sake of their reporting and so that they can better cover their communities’ risks.

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‘The Green Years’ — When the Environment Eclipsed Politics

There was a moment within living memory when Democrats and Republicans came together — in a time of extraordinary political turmoil — to pass landmark legislation to clean U.S. waters, limit toxic substances and pesticides, and empower the government to protect the environment. BookShelf’s Nano Riley reviews a new book that explores that time, and which speculates on why things have changed.

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EPA Moves To Eliminate Asbestos Risk to Human Health, But Its Legacy Remains

A new ban is to be imposed on the last kind of asbestos still imported into the United States for use in commerce. But as the Issue Backgrounder explains, the regulatory back-and-forth over the substance by recent administrations won’t alleviate the biggest U.S. problem, which is the long history of its use in a wide range of building materials and other uses raising ongoing occupational risks.

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Newly Released Greenhouse Gas Inventory Offers Local Reporting Opportunities

Updated data on U.S. emissions offers environmental journalists an opportunity to chase down local climate change news, whether from a range of sectors and industries, or from 8,000 major facilities, with tools that allow a county-by-county view. The latest Reporter’s Toolbox takes a look at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s annual release of the Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks.

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Don’t Overlook Lead Paint Toxicity Stories in Your Area

Lead poisoning of U.S. drinking water has been a big headline-grabber in recent years, but there’s an even bigger environmental justice crisis — toxic lead exposure from paint. The latest TipSheet reports that this overlooked school and housing issue is getting new attention, but solving it will be difficult and expensive. Get context, reporting resources and ideas to tackle the story in your community.

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How Ireland’s Tree Farms, Licensed With Little Environmental Assessment, Harm Biodiversity, Rural Communities

A crowdsourced, crowdfunded investigation on the damage caused by the spread of commercial spruce plantations, both to the biodiversity-rich areas of Ireland and the isolated farming communities where they are planted, was the subject of an award-winning report from journalist Niall Sargent. Find out how he ID’d the problem, overcame investigative challenges and ultimately told a human-centered, data-rich story. Our latest Inside Story Q&A.

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Battlefront Emerges Over Disclosure of Financial Climate Risks

The Biden administration’s “whole-of-government” attack on climate change has increasingly focused on the financial arena, with the most recent move a vote by the Securities and Exchange Commission to draft rules requiring publicly traded corporations to disclose climate risks. Industry and GOP opponents are preparing for the fight over the complex regulations, and WatchDog Opinion argues environmental journalists have a big stake.

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‘ECHO Notify’ Offers Automatic Pollution Alarms

Environmental journalists trying to track potential problem polluters have a valuable new tool — a notification service that creates weekly alerts on the enforcement or compliance status of facilities and companies across a range of environmental laws and customizable categories. Track geography, type of emissions, industrial category and more. The latest Reporter’s Toolbox has more on the recently launched ECHO Notify service.

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