Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "Mississippi River" ...

  • Bridge Tracker

    After 13 people died in August 2007 when a freeway bridge fell into the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, governors across the nation rushed to calm fears. Using almost identical language, states assured the public that bridges are safe, because federal regulations require inspection of "every bridge at least once every two years." In fact, at lest 17,000 bridges in the U.S. went more than two years between safety inspections, according to federal records obtained by msnbc.com. Obtaining new records from the National Bridge Inventory under the Freedom of Information Act, bill Dedman of msnbc.com gave the public a look at inspection records through 2006. The series of articles documented several lapses in state and federal oversight bridge inspections. The interactive staff at msnbc.com created the Bridge Tracker, an interactive map of bridges, allowing readers to look at the inspection information for bridges they cross. The map shows the condition and inspection dates for more than 100,000 bridges with traffic of at least 10,000 vehicles a day.
  • Losing Louisiana

    The Times-Picayune found that over the next 100 years the natural sinking of soft marsh soils could result in making New Orleans an island. Hundreds of miles of Louisiana coastline would be wiped out and sea-level will rise over time as the soil falls.
  • Toxic Traces Revisted

    The first story in the series shows that the Minnesota Dept. of Health knew about the contaminated drinking water in the Twin Cities almost a year before releasing the information to the public. The second story reported that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency ignored the fact that perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) in the soil near the 3M Company building were spilling into the Mississippi River and ground water. Last in the series, MPR News reported on how pressure from the public drove the investigation in regulating the flow of PFCs into the city's water.
  • Left Behind; Time Bomb

    In the 1920's through the 1950's two companies had been dumping asbestos waste illegally in a creek along the Mississippi river. Though both these companies are closed now, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources has done little to clean up the area. Today this is one of the populated suburbs of St. Louis and community leaders suspect that a higher number of cancer cases are being reported from this area.
  • River Barons

    The Times-Picayune discovers that state-commissioned pilots who navigate the Mississippi River are "letting inexperienced relatives and drug abusers take control of huge oceangoing ships on the most treacherous commercial waterway in North America." The stories examine the dangers involved in allowing river pilots, who are considered state officials, to elect and regulate the members of their three pilot groups that operate the Mississippi. The major findings are that 85% of the new pilots are related to existing members, and that those involved in accidents are rarely, if ever, disciplined. "Efforts to overhaul pilot legislation have routinely failed in the face of aggressive lobbying by river pilots, one of the state's most generous and powerful special interest groups," the Times-Picayne reports.
  • Unleash the rivers

    A Time investigation finds that dams built in the 20th century have been responsible for some of the worst environmental tragedies in history. The ongoing devastation of most of the West Coast salmon fisheries south of Canada, the gradual disappearance of coastal Louisiana, and the salting out of millions of hectares through irrigation illustrate only some of the deadly effects. "In ways direct and indirect, playing God with water has had a tendency to bite us back," the magazine reports. The story reveals that even though some states' economies are hopelessly dependent on the manipulation of water, governments have started removing the dams.
  • Clear Progress

    Audubon looks at the positive results from the Clean Water Act passed in 1972. The report finds that the landmark law has "spurred an unprecedented cleanup of the nation's waters," and tells the success stories of several big rivers' cleanup. The article reveals also that much remains to be done and points to an Environmental Protection Agency report showing that "forty percent of the nation's surveyed rivers, lakes and estuaries are too polluted for basic uses."
  • The Delta Initiatives: a threadbare legacy

    Since 1991 the government has poured more than $200 billion into the impovrished Mississippi River Delta, but programs have "failed to acheive their ambition goals," Jeff Porter reports. Goals set for reducing teen pregnancy to match the national average, providing accesss to adequate water, sewage disposal, fire protection and economically stabilizing minority and small family farms, were not met. The articles examine successes and faliures in small towns in the Delta.
  • Trouble on the Mississippi

    Audubon uncovers the truth that U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been damming the Upper Mississippi River System close to the point of ecological ruin; the article also details the massive plot within the corps to expand it's works program by altering proposal data and expenses in order to green-light projects.
  • (Untitled)

    Newsweek examines the environmental status of the Mississippi River, from Minnesota to Louisiana, looking at the effects of chemicals, sewage, pesticides, toxins and sediments that make their way into the river, April 16, 1990.