Policy

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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‘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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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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Why the Latest TRI Update Should Be in Your Sights for Stories

Each year brings another update of the Toxics Release Inventory database. And each year, it gets ignored or downplayed by too many news outlets. As the new Reporter’s Toolbox points out, not only does the latest iteration of TRI have some notable updates but it also offers plenty of room for localizable stories. Here’s how to mine the resource.

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Tracking Regulatory Changes Reveals Insights Into Presidential Power Over Environment

Sweeping, data-driven reporting on the impact of the Trump White House on environment policy won high praise for a Washington Post reporting team that took first prize for beat reporting in the most recent Society of Environmental Journalists’ reporting awards. Find out how award winners Juliet Eilperin, Brady Dennis and John Muyskens approached this vast topic, in the new Inside Story Q&A.

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Environmental Justice Beat Gets Boost From New Database

The Biden administration, which has been making environmental justice a top goal, has released a new screening tool that complements existing environmental equity databases, but with especially strong attention to a range of categories like clean transit, clean water, housing issues, life expectancy and more (although, interestingly, not race). The latest Reporter’s Toolbox has a guide to the new screening tool.

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A Report Card on Transparency in the Biden Administration

A coalition of open-government and journalism groups is pressing the Justice Department for a clear statement of federal policy favoring openness. The new WatchDog opinion column explains why such a move is needed, and now, not just to signal a change from the Trump-era approach, but also for smoother functioning of the all-important Freedom of Information Act.

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Houston Plays Host to First On-Site SEJ Conference Since 2019

Environmental journalists from around the country and beyond will gather in Houston later this month for the Society of Environmental Journalists’ 31st annual conference. Widely known as the energy capital of the world, this highly diverse city is an ideal place to drill down on the causes and consequences of climate change and other environmental issues of the day.

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Are Higher Energy Prices Really Biden’s Fault?

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine raises questions about the world energy supply and related environmental consequences (such as pressure to lease U.S. lands for drilling). TipSheet explores the politics — and the reality — of U.S. energy policy in the wake of Ukraine and in the run-up to November’s midterm elections, and asks the question: Do federal policies on pricing really matter?

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