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 "air pollution" ...

  • America's Super Polluters

    Industrial air pollution — bad for people’s health, bad for the planet — is strikingly concentrated in America among a small number of facilities, according to a nine-month Center for Public Integrity investigation. Findings were extended through a short documentary from The Weather Channel and a publishing partnership with USA TODAY Newtork.
  • There Will Be Diatomaceous!

    In this series of coverage, Mission and State looks at Santa Barbara’s love-hate relationship with oil. As the country dives deeper and deeper into the enhanced-extraction oil boom, Santa Barbara grapples with what to do with the vast oil reserves waiting to be tapped in the North County and offshore. These stories delve into the fractured local oil politics, the strange bedfellows oil development can make of environmentalists, oil companies and politicians, the environmental and developmental legacies informing current debates, the missed opportunities for environmental concessions and the campaign contributions putting politicians in compromising positions. These stories paint the picture of a county in an almost schizophrenic political and cultural dance with itself. During the course of researching and reporting this series, it was revealed that Air Pollution Control District advisory board member and Lompoc City Councilmember Ashley Costa also worked in public relations for Santa Maria Energy, an obvious conflict of interest. Reporter Karen Pelland discovered that the president of a company proposing to slant drill from Vandenberg Air Force Base to get to the vast Tranquillon Ridge offshore reserve made significant political contributions to now-Congressman John Garamendi (D-Walnut Creek). Garamendi had previously scuttled a deal between environmentalists and PXP oil company for the same reserve that was hailed as a landmark proposal at the time.
  • C-HIT: Toxic Laundry Emissions

    Industrial laundries in New England have recently come under intense scrutiny by the EPA, ever since the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) found that volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) were being released at a facility in Waterbury, CT. According to Steve Rapp, Chief of the Air Technical Unit, EPA Region 1, the problem is widespread and significant. “The industrial laundries are grossly under-reporting their VOCs,” said Rapp. “It’s a total sleeper.” The problem stems from the process of laundering shop towels, which are often contaminated with toxic solvents. When improperly cleaned, the solvents are vaporized and emitted to the surrounding air. This article investigated this little-known source of air pollution, shedding light on the industry’s practices and its impact on air quality and public health.
  • Poisoned Places: Tonawanda

    It's difficult to definitively link any one person's illness to air pollution from a particular plant. But the concerns about the health effects of Tonawanda Coke's toxic pollution rallied a small group of people in Tonawanda -- most of them sick -- to force complacent regulators to clean up the air. The case highlights the risks posed to communities around the country by an environmental regulatory system that largely entrusts companies to voluntarily disclose how much toxic pollution they emit and that can take years to act once violations are discovered.
  • Poisoned Places: Toxic Air, Neglected Communities

    This partnered investigation looks into the Clean Air Act and what it has been failing to do: protecting communities from toxic air pollutants for 21 years.
  • Toxic Town

    "A six-week investigation into the environmental contamination and public-health effects in Somerville, Texas caused byt a 110-year-old- wood-treatment facility that for three decades was the nationa's largest manufacturer of railroad cross ties."
  • Assignment Peru: Poison in La Oroya

    American mining company Doe Run bought a metalurgical plant in La Oroya, Peru, promising to clean it up after tests showed 99 percent of children born after the take-over had incredibly high level of lead contamination. Ten years later, the company has asked for extensions on the deadlines.
  • In Harm's Way

    The Houston Chronicle funded and conducted a study into air quality at 84 homes and 16 public places in four Southwest Texas communities adjacent to major refineries and/or chemical plants. The newspaper also analyzed more than a decade's worth of air pollution data collected by the state. The effort revealed that residents in this area were being exposed to elevated levels of dangerous and cancer-causing pollutants. Officials were aware of this and some of their own employees charged with monitoring the air were getting sick themselves. The study was able to pinpoint the culprit, adjacent industries.
  • Clear and Present Danger: A Special Issue

    This special report examines the state of the air in Los Angeles and shows that air pollution is still a major issue, and appears to be worsening in some ways after more than 50 years of cleanup efforts. The investigation covers the latest on health effects of air pollution, weaknesses in existing pollution regulations, and lack of resources devoted to the issue.
  • An air that kills: How the asbestos poisoning of Libby, Montana, uncovered a national scandal

    This book reveals the events behind the asbestos-related deaths of hundreds of miners and their family members and the related sicknesses of thousands of others who lived near the W.R. Grace & Co. vermiculite mine. The investigation documents how company officials knew for decades that the ore from the mine was dangerous but still they concealed the hazard. The authors also show how the federal government had known of the poisonings but had failed to disclose the problem.