The estuaries that proliferate across the United States can be hard to define — and protect. But their role in a healthy environment makes them a crucial focus of good reporting. The latest Issue Backgrounder explores their importance, the many challenges they face, and how to track the agencies and programs meant to protect them.
Planning & Growth
The Great Lakes are not only the largest fresh water system in the world, supplying drinking water to tens of millions. They also face a range of environmental woes that make them ready fodder for reporters. This week’s TipSheet runs down some ongoing developments, plus key resources to cover them.
They may not be the sexiest topics on the environmental agenda. But building codes and zoning can become a matter of life and death when natural disasters strike. This week’s TipSheet runs down the reporting challenge when floods, earthquakes and wildfires threaten your coverage area.
Health risks from unsafe drinking water afflict many, not only around the world, but in the United States too, especially the poor, ethnic minorities and those in remote rural areas. The latest Issue Backgrounder looks at this undercovered environmental justice story, and offers ideas and resources for how reporters can cover it.
"A report being released on Monday shows Florida isn’t alone in easing up on building regulations even as the effects of global warming escalate. The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety examined building policies in 18 Atlantic and Gulf Coast states and found that despite the increasing severity of natural disasters, many of those states have relaxed their approach to codes - or have yet to impose any whatsoever."
Decades after the nation’s capital began its historic cleanup, sanitary sewage still occasionally swamps the Potomac River. Are sewage systems also dumping human waste and other pollutants into waterways near you? This week’s TipSheet has the background on the problem of combined sewage overflow, as well as resources for finding out what’s happening near you.
While environmental themes were less prominent at the Sundance Film Festival this year, our correspondent JoAnn Valenti unearthed ecological messages from documentaries that explore the emergence of climate change refugees in the face of sea level rise, the escape from modernity into wilderness and the confrontation of environmental threats by young innovators.
A new book on the Gulf of Mexico earns kudos for the balance and passion of its tone, as well as for its historical storytelling about this important ecosystem and the overfishing, oil spills, hurricanes, explosive growth and poor land-use decisions it faces. BookShelf reviews Jack Davis’ “The Gulf.”
Infrastructure is much in the news these days, with battles over politics and funding yielding stories for environment reporters. In play are a Trump plan, who gets to pick projects, who pays and much more. But in an election year, how likely are infrastructure plans to move forward? The backstory, with angles for environment and energy, plus what to watch for in 2018, in our Backgrounder on infrastructure.
Covering local infrastructure projects often means covering energy and the environment. This week’s TipSheet offers a companion to our special backgrounder on the national infrastructure story emerging out of Washington. We’ve got dozens of resources and links for finding infrastructure news and information from Congress, executive agencies, infrastructure organizations and environmental groups.