A government website that tracked climate change is back after being frozen by the Trump administration. But the return of the EPA’s climate indicator page, argues the new WatchDog opinion column, is just one step in undoing a longer-term and more systematic assault on science that has hobbled truth-seeking journalists. WatchDog on what must come next.
Long overlooked or misunderstood outside of the communities they affected, issues of environmental equity are now increasingly the focus of both government action and journalistic digging. A recent webinar from the Society of Environmental Journalists explored new developments with this many-layered challenge and offered advice on how it can be better covered. Webinar moderator and reporter Perla Trevizo has a rundown.
The climate change gas methane, relatively little controlled but with a global warming potential many times that of carbon dioxide, has been much in the news recently and promises to remain there. The latest Backgrounder helps environmental journalists track the problem by detailing methane’s sources — from oil and gas production, agriculture and landfills — and the politics surrounding its regulation.
As Native tribal nations successfully exert ancestral rights to land stewardship across the West, journalists covering these developments must first grasp the legal principles that underpin Native governmental sovereignty. But also key is to create and sustain relationships with Native community members. Veteran environment and Indigenous affairs reporter Debra Krol lays out the basics for effective reporting from Indian Country.
“Science is back at EPA,” declared the agency’s new administrator. But for reporters to do their job means more, argues the latest WatchDog — it means ditching a long-standing policy that requires EPA scientists have permission, along with press office “minders,” for interviews. Why that holds back quality journalism and government responsibility to protect public health. Plus, how past agency appointees have overruled science.