Ammonium nitrate, the explosive agricultural fertilizer that blew up in Lebanon this month, killing dozens and severely damaging Beirut’s center, is stored by the thousands of tons all over the United States. But regulatory blindspots and secretive information policies mean few know exactly where. Backgrounder reviews the chemical’s oversight regime — and its gaps — and has ideas for reporting from your community.
As Democratic and Republican parties plan their nominating conventions beginning next week amid a pandemic and a recession, it’s instructive to examine the state of thinking about a “green recovery.” Backgrounder looks at the politicking and policies behind the notion that a massive clean energy plan could be good not just for addressing climate change, but also the economy.
In the aftermath of the pandemic, the so-called built environment is likely to get a thorough reexamination, whether it’s to reconsider commuting, shopping, recreation, eating out or taking in sporting events. Our latest Issue Backgrounder looks at the top ways coronavirus will force us to rethink our cities and how we live in and travel through them.
Unheeded warnings are the hallmark of many disasters. And with coronavirus still hobbling the nation, communities and journalists must now watch for all the ways COVID-19 could make even the most familiar hazards far worse. Prepare with this extensive Backgrounder, which touches on issues around evacuations and emergency readiness when facing storms, fires, toxic releases and more.
The dramatic drop in demand for oil, driven by the shutdown of world economies by coronavirus, has meant a corresponding fall in prices. And that has profound environmental implications. But it’s a complicated dynamic to assess. Our Issue Backgrounder provides a look under the hood of Big Oil, and explains what it means for environment reporters. Plus, a Reporter’s Toolbox for tracking the data.
The momentous COVID-19 outbreak has many, many reporting angles — environment and energy stories certainly among them. Our latest Issue Backgrounder has an extensive rundown on possible ways in for environment and energy reporters, including everything from respiratory disease and air pollution to science denial and climate change, and more. Plus, pending passage of a massive congressional aid package. And an earlier TipSheet on how journalists can prepare for public health emergencies.
Weather reports are not just about donning galoshes. They can mean literal life or death for people and businesses, such as during a natural disaster. So, as the latest Issue Backgrounder details, the ongoing effort to privatize publicly funded weather data is a matter of real controversy. Find out what’s in the weather privatization forecast.
Despite warnings that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency would be dismantled under the Trump administration, it remains very much alive, thanks to the realities of politics and litigation. Yet its staffing, enforcement and science advisory roles remain under the gun. In the latest of our Backgrounders for the “2020 Journalists’ Guide to Energy & Environment,” we read the tea leaves on the future of the EPA.
Safety has traditionally been the key question when discussing the realities of nuclear power. But in assessing the future of the nuclear industry amid debates over its potential to help tackle the climate crisis, the latest entry in our “2020 Journalists’ Guide to Energy & the Environment” reports that there may be an equally pressing concern.
A massive transportation measure is working its way through Congress, with environmental elements including climate change and public transit. But will this “must-pass” measure actually pass in the coming year? Or will it be bogged down by politics or looming questions of how to pay for it? A new Issue Backgrounder explains.