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April 10, 2019

  • The first state ban on styrofoam food containers makes this a good time to see how things stand with styrofoam in your area, as the controversial plastic draws negative attention for overflowing landfills, causing litter and polluting waters. More, plus story ideas and reporting resources, in this week’s TipSheet.

  • What makes styrofoam good — like its insulating, shock-absorbing qualities that make it suitable for hot coffee cups, coolers, helmets and packing material — is also what makes it bad … for the environment, that is. This month’s Backgrounder looks at the technical and environmental aspects of this long-troubling plastic pollution source.

April 3, 2019

  • Seemingly healthy foods might not be as healthy as consumers believe. A new list tracking pesticide residue tells a different story, explains this week’s SEJournal TipSheet. Find out what iconic health food is on the “Dirty Dozen” list and which healthy standby makes the “Clean Fifteen.” Plus, the backstory, why pesticide residue matters and resources to report on the issue.

  • Does the military use ecological restoration as a means to “green” over the complex relationship between nature and culture, undermining the impacts of history and warfare? Our latest BookShelf review of the new volume, “Bombs Away: Militarization, Conservation, and Ecological Restoration,” explores one author’s argument that it does.

March 27, 2019

  • The Society of Environmental Journalists is backing right-to-know lawsuits brought by journalism groups, and a collaborative press freedom tracker gets new funding. Meanwhile, at the Interior Department, one watchdog group angles for environmental impact statements on ANWR drilling, while others track possible conflicts of interest by the acting secretary. That and more in the latest WatchDog roundup.

  • With flood-ravaged Midwestern states in the news, it’s time to ask whether your own community is ready for the “big one.” This week’s TipSheet offers a 10-point Resiliency Checklist to focus your reporting. Track the vulnerability of infrastructure like drinking water and sewage plants, roads, bridges and levees, the adequacy of flood insurance and much more.

March 20, 2019

  • Drinking water contaminated with PFAS for years has caused worry, even outrage, in local communities affected by the toxic chemicals. Now, a military database may help reporters locate contamination sites. This week’s TipSheet has more on the database, along with tips for evaluating your local PFAS story.

March 13, 2019

  • Hundreds of coal ash ponds and landfills around the United States pollute drinking water supplies, and now a newly released report helps localize the problem for environmental reporters. This week’s TipSheet explores the new data source, provides the back story on coal ash regulation (or lack thereof) and the potential health risks, while offering numerous questions to ask and resources to track down.

  • The vast Colorado River, recently in the news over a troubled drought deal, is at the heart of numerous environmental problems in the American West, where water is scarce and the legal complexities of water rights voluminous. The latest Issue Backgrounder offers an explainer on the story, which involves at least seven states, the federal government, Native American tribes, a hornet’s nest of irrigation districts and even Mexico.

  • An environmental documentary that follows a risk-laden effort to save a rare and elusive porpoise won over audiences at the recent Sundance Film Festival. Correspondent JoAnn Valenti takes a look at the film, along with other documentaries that explore the role of journalists and journalism. 

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