For years, public information about some of the deadliest chemical security risks has been limited. But now that the Biden EPA is exploring the issue, our latest WatchDog opinion column explains why this is such an important open information issue for environmental reporters and other journalists.
Southwest (AZ NM OK TX)
"There's a certain smell that reminds Dianna Cormier-Jackson of her childhood on Leila Street in Houston's Fifth Ward. When she was young in the early 1960s, she recalls the air there feeling "heavy," as if it was thick with oil and gasoline. Some days, the heavy smell would be so strong that her parents would make her and her siblings stay in the house. But on school days, they marched out into the rank air."
"Acequias, the fabled irrigation ditches that are a cornerstone of New Mexican culture, have endured centuries of challenges. Can they survive the Southwest’s megadrought?"
"Hurricane Zeta's surprisingly significant damage to Louisiana, much of it attributed to lost roofing that allowed water damage inside residences, should be seen by property owners as a prompt to take steps now to avoid similar damage in future storms, says Ian Giammanco, a research meteorologist and wind engineer at the Insurance Institute for Building and Home Safety."
"When Joe Biden paused oil and gas drilling leases on federal lands earlier this year, the alarm bells rang in south-eastern New Mexico."
A reporting team at BuzzFeed used a powerful array of data analysis techniques to arrive at a disturbing conclusion about the wintery devastation in Texas — there were far more deaths than acknowledged. But their investigation didn’t stop there. They tracked down families of the deceased to understand the human toll and pressured government over its accountability. How they got the story for “The Graveyard Doesn’t Lie.”
"The Gila was once a vibrant desert river, providing a lifeline for the riparian habitat and wildlife that depended on it in the U.S. Southwest. But population growth, agricultural withdrawals, and, increasingly, climate change have badly diminished the river and threaten its future."
"Boxed in by refineries, oil tanks, an interstate highway and a bridge under construction, the people are left in a hollowed-out neighborhood and a broken community."
"New research reveals a positive feedback loop with negative consequences linked to lower springtime humidity across an already parched landscape."
"High levels of a cancer-causing chemical have been detected in air monitors in Houston neighborhoods near the busiest U.S. petrochemical port, according to a report issued on Thursday by Houston health officials and environmental groups."