Environment stories you may have missed

By The Center for Public Integrity

We spent 2014 combing through legislation, documents and emissions data to investigate how big companies put people at risk.

Excerpts from this story referencing "greenhouse gas":

"… ew regulations. Keep reading 3. Expansions on existing plants could boost greenhouse gas and toxic air emissions While the EPA focuses on reducing coal emissions …"

Bill aims to stop coal companies from denying benefits to miners with black lung

By Chris Hamby

Two coal-state senators plan to introduce legislation to reform the federal benefits program for black lung victims.

Ten major findings from our investigations so far this year

By Jared Bennett and Sarah Whitmire

Investigations from the first half of 2014

Excerpts from this story referencing "New York":

"… for shady characters from overseas looking to funnel their wealth through New York’s luxury real estate. Keep reading 8. Sixteen high court judges ruled …"

How oil and gas firms gained influence and transformed North Dakota

By Nicholas Kusnetz

Industry has transformed the state, but at what cost?

Excerpts from this story referencing "director":

"… hings that we’ve never really had a chance to do,” said Merl Paaverud, director of the State Historical Society. Oil development has transformed this sta …"

"… oil industry is in the Capitol,” said Jim Fuglie, a former state tourism director and former head of the state Democratic-Nonpartisan League Party. “Nothi …"

"… ies themselves. Since retiring five years ago, Fuglie, the former tourism director, has maintained a political blog, and he characterizes state leaders …"

"… ent environmentalists, but he’s hardly a treehugger. He is the executive director of the Dakota Resource Council, a grassroots group of mostly farmers and r …"

Even low doses of arsenic trigger cancer in mice, study finds

By David Heath

Study by the National Institutes of Health found levels of arsenic similar to what some people consume caused cancer in mice.

Excerpts from this story referencing "director":

"… humans might be exposed,” Michael Waalkes, lead author on the paper and director of the National Toxicology Program Laboratory, said in a press release. …"

"… ossibility that no level of arsenic appears to be safe,” Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the Nationa …"

How politics derailed EPA science on arsenic, endangering public health

By David Heath

A ban on arsenic-containing pesticides was lifted after a lawmaker disrupted a scientific assessment by the EPA.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Common Sense":

"… once used for earmarks. Steve Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonprofit group that closely monitors the Appropriations Committee, sai …"

What to do if your drinking water contains arsenic

By David Heath

Millions of Americans unwittingly consume arsenic, a potent carcinogen also linked to IQ deficits in children, in their drinking water.

Excerpts from this story referencing "heart disease":

"… inking water standard. These include bladder, lung, liver and skin cancer, heart disease, strokes and diabetes. Recent studies have suggested that arsenic may caus …"

As drilling ravages Texas’ Eagle Ford Shale, residents 'living in a Petri dish’

By Jim Morris, Lisa Song and David Hasemyer

In partnership with InsideClimate News and The Weather Channel, Center examines oil industry exploitation of Texas’ Eagle Ford Shale.

Excerpts from this story referencing "San Antonio":

"… KARNES CITY, Texas — When Lynn Buehring leaves her doctor’s office in San Antonio she makes sure her inhaler is on the seat beside her, then steers her red …"

"… t aims to figure out how Eagle Ford pollution may be affecting cities like San Antonio, just beyond the shale play. The study’s director said the data will be …"

"… the University of Texas’ Center for Energy and Environmental Resources. San Antonio’s ozone levels have violated federal standards dozens of times sinc …"

Top environment investigations from 2013

By The Center for Public Integrity

In case you missed it, here are some of our favorite environment and workers' rights investigations from 2013.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Georgia-Pacific":

"… dustry denial Facing 60,000 asbestos claims over a product it once sold, Georgia-Pacific responded with a legal pushback — and secretive science. Keep reading …"

California cities seek $1 billion settlement for lead paint-related health care costs

By Lilly Fowler

Lawsuit says lead paint manufacturers should pay to remove old, toxic pigment from affected homes in California.

Cancer-cluster study seeking to debunk 'Erin Brockovich' has glaring weaknesses

By David Heath

An often-cited study finds no cancer cluster in Hinkley, Calif. But it fails to focus on people who drank poisoned water.

Excerpts from this story referencing "America":

"… its on how much chromium is allowed in drinking water. Tens of millions of Americans drink small amounts of chromium each day in their tap water. The ongoin …"

"… tamination. Morgan has done other questionable work. As an advisor to the American Council on Science and Health, which gets funding from the chemical indus …"

"… such as dioxins and hexavalent chromium, has killed no one from cancer in America. Morgan stands by his research. He says he was dispelling a misconception …"

"… in Brockovich that drinking hexavalent chromium can hurt people. The American Council on Science and Health, a group whose stated mission is to present …"

EPA adds safeguards to spotlight conflicts on scientific panels

By David Heath and Ronnie Greene

The Environmental Protection Agency announced new steps Friday to help reveal potential conflicts of interest in scientific review panels.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Union of Concerned Scientists":

"… ca Grifo, a senior policy fellow and expert on scientific integrity at the Union of Concerned Scientists. One key change: After an EPA-hired contractor selects members of a scien …"

Praise from MIT for Center and PBS collaboration on post-Erin Brockovich Hinkley, Calif.

Knight Science Journalism at MIT commends Center and PBS for reporting on toxic cleanup in California

Excerpts from this story referencing "chemical":

"… bsp; The story investigated the lack of regulation of the toxic chemical compound chromium (VI) found in the drinking water for Hinkley, …"

"… e problem of chromium (VI) in Hinkley and elsewhere in the country because chemical industry scientists have cast doubt on whether or not the chemical is …"

"… because chemical industry scientists have cast doubt on whether or not the chemical is toxic. The Center's David Heath and Ronnie Greene partnered with …"

Tackling the powerful chemical industry

By Bill Buzenberg

Investigation pushes EPA to change policies

How industry scientists stalled action on carcinogen

By David Heath

Tens of millions of Americans drink tap water tainted with chromium. But industry pushback has made it hard for the EPA to regulate.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Merck":

"… nel, and Paustenbach shared it with the group. The article was paid for by Merck, another company involved in a chromium cleanup. The panel chairman, …"

As EPA delays new coal ash rules, residents turn to the courts for relief

By Kristen Lombardi

Across the country, residents are challenging the health impact of coal ash ponds -- bringing lawsuits as EPA delays new rules.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Colstrip":

"… mentalists filed two new suits over coal-ash ponds surrounding the town of Colstrip. There, the ponds have caused such widespread damage to aquifers that they …"

Helium balloon maker shows lobbyists love

By Dave Levinthal

Gas shortage prompts helium balloon company to hire help as Valentine's Day nears.

EPA unaware of industry ties on cancer review panel

By David Heath and Ronnie Greene

An EPA panel appointed to study hexavalent chromium included scientists who had consulted for industry in lawsuits.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Union of Concerned Scientists":

"… said Francesca Grifo, director of scientific integrity at the nonprofit Union of Concerned Scientists. “I don’t know how anybody could stand up logically and say I got $100 …"

In Sri Lanka, new steps target mysterious kidney disease

By Sasha Chavkin

In Sri Lanka, the president vows controls on chemicals potentially linked to chronic kidney disease, as hospitals take steps for patients.

Excerpts from this story referencing "epidemic":

"… rtilizers amid growing concern the chemicals are helping fuel a mysterious epidemic of chronic kidney disease devastating its north central region.In Septembe …"

"… ists in each region are struggling to identify the cause of these parallel epidemics, which have led to tens of thousands of deaths worldwide and are suspecte …"

"… a said, referring in oblique terms to the politically controversial kidney epidemic. “Therefore, regulations will be formulated to require suppliers and dis …"

"… yake said, some individuals and groups have emerged seeking to exploit the epidemic. To prevent problems, Dassanayake said his hospital only accepts kidney do …"

In Sri Lanka, breakthroughs, setbacks and a spiritual touch

By Sasha Chavkin and Anna Barry-Jester

How a rare kidney disease is killing laborers and vexing researchers in three countries.

Excerpts from this story referencing "toxicologist":

"… to be released in late October will lay out the details.Agneta Åkesson, a toxicologist at the Karolinska Institute who specializes in cadmium poisoning, reviewed …"

FACT CHECK: Bogus oil claims by Crossroads GPS

By FactCheck.Org

Nonprofit group Crossroads GPS gets Obama administration energy policy facts wrong

Excerpts from this story referencing "Bush administration":

"… hat the full quote makes clear is that a last-minute plan by the Bush administration to grant leases was scrapped.Reuters, Feb. 25, 2009: A Bush administr …"

"… administration to grant leases was scrapped.Reuters, Feb. 25, 2009: A Bush administration plan for more research, development and demonstration oil shale leases wil …"

"… lazar was canceling was a decision announced in the final week of the Bush administration to make up to 2 million acres of public land available for leasing.Cu …"

Colombia vows to clean up coltan mining

By Corbin Hiar

Narco-groups illegal mining operations threaten country's exports of the important electronics component

Venezuela emerges as new source of ‘conflict’ minerals

By Emilia Diaz-Struck and Joseph Poliszuk

Venezuelan black-market mineral likely making its way to everything from smart phones to smart bombs

Excerpts from this story referencing "officer":

"… e been pursued, however, as people whisper that it’s unsafe to accuse an officer.In 2009, the Foundation for Science and Technology Development in Amazonas …"

Five things you need to know about coltan:

Five things you need to know about this black-market mineral

About this story

A look at the reporting process behind ICIJ's coltan stories

Excerpts from this story referencing "Colombia":

"… or coltan in South America’s Amazon, in the border between Venezuela and Colombia, where they face cross-border smugglers and must deal with violent drug tr …"

"… Emilia Diaz-Struck and Joseph Polizsuk (Venezuela);  Ignacio Gómez (Colombia); Marcelo Soares (Brazil); Nari Kim (South Korea)Project manager: Ricardo …"

"… rtners: El Universal (Venezuela), Arman-do.info (Venezuela), Noticias Uno (Colombia), El Espectador (Colombia)  …"

"… zuela), Arman-do.info (Venezuela), Noticias Uno (Colombia), El Espectador (Colombia)  …"

FACT CHECK: Obama, GOP spin recent energy stats

By The Associated Press

GOP rendition of U.S. energy production isn't in line with the facts

Excerpts from this story referencing "Congress":

"… he has very little to do with that.From the presidential campaign trail to Congress, Republicans have been hammering Obama for locking up the nation's energy …"

Keystone XL pipeline rejection a setback for Canadian tar sands development

By Corbin Hiar

Keystone XL pipeline rejection won't stop the development of Canada's carbon-rich fuel

Excerpts from this story referencing "crude oil":

"… fining tar sands, which give off more carbon dixoide than traditional crude oil. But Obama threw his support behind additional U.S. drilling. And ana …"

EPA releases long-awaited power plant air toxics rule

By Corbin Hiar

The EPA releases details of a landmark rule to cut air emissions of mercury and other toxics from coal- and oil-fired power plants.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Environmental Protection Agency":

"… s globally,” said USGS scientist Peter Van Metre, who authored the study. …"

Mercury falling: Groundbreaking power plant emissions rule imminent

By Corbin Hiar

The EPA is poised to issue a new regulation restricting toxic power plant emissions

Excerpts from this story referencing "Mercury":

"… Congress is out of session Monday to release the final language.The draft Mercury and Air Toxics Standard proposed in March, which will likely mirror the fi …"

"… d make fish, and the people who eat them healthier, environmentalists say. Mercury, a coal combustion byproduct, is a potent neurotoxin linked to decreased m …"

Brominated battle: Soda chemical has cloudy health history

By Brett Israel

Experts now urge a closer look at a chemical, banned in other countries, now popping up in U.S. sodas.

Excerpts from this story referencing "headaches":

"… on from drinking two to four liters of orange soda every day. He developed headaches, fatigue, ataxia (loss of muscle coordination) and memory loss.In a 2003 c …"

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