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 "dump" ...

  • Unchecked Power

    After losing hard-fought reelection campaigns, Alabama’s sheriffs often turn their attention to undermining their successors in ways that abuse the public trust. On his way out the door, one sheriff drilled holes in government-issued cell phones, while another pocketed public money intended to feed inmates. The ousted leaders dumped jail food down the drain and burned through tens of thousands of sheriff's office dollars by purchasing thousands of rolls of toilet paper. These are among the findings of my six-month investigation into these practices for AL.com and the ProPublica Local Reporting Network. In June 2019, I chronicled the actions of nine defeated Alabama sheriffs, seven of whom allegedly destroyed public property, stole public funds and/or wasted taxpayer money after their electoral defeats. These stories were made possible by my realization that incoming sheriffs were often more willing to talk on the record about the bad behavior and criminality of predecessors who had taken advantage of them than they would be under other circumstances.
  • Bombs In Your Backyard: Investigating One of America’s Greatest Polluters

    The military might of the United States has come at an extraordinary environmental price. The nation’s defense technologies and armaments have been developed, tested, stored, decommissioned and disposed of on vast tracts of American soil, where they have polluted fields and rivers, contaminated drinking water and put legions of people’s health at risk. For the first time, this project examined the full extent of the damage — 39,000 sites adding up to an area larger than the state of Florida, affecting millions of people. Our stories exposed the Pentagon’s routine practice of open burning of hazardous waste; its reliance on incompetent or fraudulent contractors that dump waste or fake cleanups; its four-decade campaign to make a dangerous and pervasive chemical explosive appear safe and avoid regulation; and its explicit refusal to comply with federal environmental laws even when the exposure of young children to lead poisoning from munition was at stake. We gained exclusive access to the Pentagon’s complete environmental dataset, and created a news application which for the first time mapped searchable data about contaminated sites across U.S. territories.
  • Bombs In Your Backyard

    The military might of the United States has come at an extraordinary environmental price. The nation’s defense technologies and armaments have been developed, tested, stored, decommissioned and disposed of on vast tracts of American soil, where they have polluted fields and rivers, contaminated drinking water and put legions of people’s health at risk. For the first time, this project examined the full extent of the damage — 39,000 sites adding up to an area larger than the state of Florida, affecting millions of people. Our stories exposed the Pentagon’s routine practice of open burning of hazardous waste; its reliance on incompetent or fraudulent contractors that dump waste or fake cleanups; its four-decade campaign to make a dangerous and pervasive chemical explosive appear safe and avoid regulation; and its explicit refusal to comply with federal environmental laws even when the exposure of young children to lead poisoning from munition was at stake. We gained exclusive access to the Pentagon’s complete environmental dataset, and created a news application which for the first time mapped searchable data about contaminated sites across U.S. territories.
  • Electric Boondoggle

    A $2.5 million prize from the prestigious taxpayer-backed X Prize competition wound up rewarding a troubled company that's been accused of running penny-stock scams. A two-month Greenwire investigation uncovered a cascade of suspicious transactions and dubious claims by Li-Ion Motors Corporation Court documents, interviews and the company's own filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission found that the company has plowed through $50 million in investors' money with little to show for it other than millions of dollars of debt, a $250,000 IRS lien, angry customers and allegations that it was involved in "pump and dump" stock schemes.
  • Lack of Prosecution in Animal Abuse Cases

    We investigated why Kansas City and Jackson County rarely prosecuted cases of animal abuse. We learned animal control officers in Kanas City have no training or background in investigating these type of cases. Our investigation revealed only three cases of animal abuse were sumbitted for felony prosecution in the past two years. http://fox4kc.com/2015/03/31/woman-says-shes-lost-trust-in-kc-heartbroken-by-the-way-her-dead-dog-was-dumped/ http://fox4kc.com/2015/01/30/resident-demands-change-following-fox-4-investigation-into-kcmo-animal-abuse/ http://fox4kc.com/2015/01/29/fox-4-investigation-are-kc-animal-abusers-being-held-accountable-for-cruelty/
  • Missteps and Secrets: Los Alamos Officials Downplayed Waste's Dangers

    A leak from a drum of Cold War-era nuclear waste at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, N.M., on Feb. 14, 2014, released radioactive contaminants that reached almost two dozen and the environment outside the ancient salt cavern turned nuclear waste dump. Documents obtained by The Santa Fe New Mexican exposed truths deliberately hidden from regulators and waste dump personnel by Los Alamos National Laboratory, where the waste originated, and the private contractors that operate the lab.
  • Toxic Legacy

    Employees of Technicoat, a metal coating company based in Fort Worth in the ‘70s and 80s, hired teenagers to dispose of industrial waste and harmful chemicals. None of the employees went through any kind of safety training or were given protective gear. Now many of the company’s former employees have either died from illnesses linked to chemical exposure or are currently battling illnesses that are likely related to being exposed to chemicals during their tenure at Technicoat. The story found that the city of Fort Worth and the Tarrant Regional Water District are still dealing with the environmental impact of the company’s illegal chemical dumping – sometimes down storm drains, in holes dug in the ground, or straight into the Trinity River – as the area that housed the Technicoat plant is being redeveloped. It also discovered that the company blatantly disregarded federal safety standards and was fined multiple times by different federal, state, and local agencies for environmental and safety violations.
  • Sewage Leaks

    This entry includes three articles stemming from Daveen Rae Kurutz's investigation into illegal sewage dumping by the Franklin Township Municipal Sanitary Authority. During a seven week period, the authority discharged about 30 million gallons of sewage waste into Turtle Creek in Murrysville, Pa.
  • Not Just the NSA Tracking Cellphones

    We uncovered search warrants that show not just big agencies like the FBI or NSA, but small local police departments are taking data off thousands of cell phones belonging to people not suspected of a crime. While this data is sometimes used to track bad guys, we found one case where it was used to track someone who stole a sheriff’s gun out of his car. Police can gather data from thousands of phones with almost no legal structure on what can and can’t be done with the data. No one is monitoring police and there are no federal rules on when a ‘tower dump’ should or should not be authorized. In some cases in South Carolina, police can keep all of the information they receive in a database for 7 years. It’s all happening without the public ever being told data from their cell phone was gathered by police.
  • Police Cell Phone Surveillance

    The National Security Agency isn't the only government entity secretly collecting data from people's cellphones. The joint USA TODAY Network investigation found that local police are increasingly scooping it up, too. Armed with new technologies, including mobile devices that tap into cellphone data in real time, dozens of local and state police agencies are capturing information about thousands of cellphone users at a time, whether they are targets of an investigation or not, according to public records obtained by USA TODAY and Gannett newspapers and TV stations across the U.S. The records, from more than 125 police agencies in 33 states, reveal about one in four law-enforcement agencies have used a tactic known as a "tower dump," which gives police data about the identity, activity and location of any phone that connects to the targeted cellphone towers over a set span of time, usually an hour or two. A typical dump covers multiple towers, and wireless providers, and can net information from thousands of phones. We also found that at least 25 police departments own a Stingray, a suitcase-size device that costs as much as $400,000 and acts as a fake cell tower. The system, typically installed in a vehicle so it can be moved into any neighborhood, tricks all nearby phones into connecting to it and feeding data to police. In some states, the devices are available to any local police department via state surveillance units. The federal government funds most of the purchases, via anti-terror grants. Police mostly didn’t want to talk about the tactics, though privacy advocates and state and federal lawmakers expressed serious concerns about the ability of local police to scoop up large amounts of data on people who weren’t under investigation and typically without the same protections, and checks and balances, afforded by a search warrant.