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

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Search results for "ecology" ...

  • The Putah Creek Legacy

    This series explored the history, impact, and implications of a 25-year, $12 million river restoration project along Lower Putah Creek, a small waterway that runs along the border of Yolo and Solano counties in northern California. Putah Creek has been managed for human use for almost 150 years: a new channel rerouted it around the town of Davisville in the 1870s, levees were erected along it in the 1940s, and a dam halted and diverted its flow in the 1950s. Its story mimics hundreds of other rivers, streams and creeks throughout California. It would be largely unremarkable save for a lawsuit that thrust it to the forefront of restoration ecology.
  • Boeing’s Lobbying Campaign

    “Boeing’s Lobbying Campaign" uses public records to trace how The Boeing Co.’s lobbying killed a long-overdue correction to an obscure but important formula used to determine how much water pollution is allowed under the Clean Water Act. The lobbying by a Boeing senior executive, InvestigateWest showed, reached all the way to Gov. Christine Gregoire. After the Washington Department of Ecology had withstood challenges to its plans to tighten the water-pollution rules from the powerful timber and business industries during the 2012 legislative session, Boeing had the juice to quietly short-circuit those plans a few months later. The company went around Ecology to the governor, as InvestigateWest’s timeline of documents and emails made clear. Our reporting was carried in newspapers around the state, sparking reporting and editorials by other news organizations on the previously low-profile issue. Environmentalists also cited the series in a lawsuit against the EPA. Because we elevated this issue into public consciousness, reporters were all over the story when Boeing again tried to delay the changes in the 2013 legislative session, nearly causing a government shutdown. A new draft rule tightening the standards is due out in March 2014.
  • Lethal and Leaking

    In Hanford, WA millions of gallons of nuclear waste have been stored underground. The Department of Energy has been working to clean up the site since the early 1990s. However due to engineering miscalculations, the development of a treatment plant is behind schedule. Errors such as defective equipment and other mistakes that risk the safety of the plant have forced the price of the clean up to triple.
  • The Human Factor

    16 years after the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill efforts to reduce crew work hours, crack down on alcohol use and improve tug escorts are being evaded or undermined. The industry and regulators are relying on new tankers they say are far less susceptible to trouble. But the investigation revealed that spills have gone unreported, alcohol is still being consumed on the ships and risky behavior is still characteristic in the industry.
  • "Burning Rage"

    This story covers the rising threat of eco-terrorists in the U.S. In May, 2005, John Lewis, Deputy Director of the FBI, testified on Capitol Hill that domestic terrorism by radical environmental groups such as the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front were the biggest threat to American security. 60 Minutes set out to either prove or disprove Lewis' testimony and found that, indeed, such groups were responsible for a rising number of arson and bomb attacks.
  • Invaded Waters

    Foreign fish and other creatures have invaded the Great Lakes and are killing off native lake life. This investigation found most of these creatures arrived by ship from Europe or Asia and that many of these ships are not inspected as they should be before being allowed passage. Biologists believe these new species will soon dominate the lakes' ecology. Some of these changes may pose risks to humans. Most fishermen have been negatively affected. 'Flying' fish have also proved dangerous.
  • Our Troubled Sound

    The Post-Intelligencer reports on pollution problems in Puget Sound, the nation's second largest estuary and "an ecosystem spinning out of control." The major findings are that scientists have documented decline in keystone species; a state program to control urban runoff is far behind schedule; three out of four businesses are in breach of water-quality regulations or permits; precautions to prevent a possible oil spill in an area where many tankers sail are inadequate; overall, Superfund sites in the area are not being cleaned up. Many of the findings are based on analysis of databases obtained from government agencies.
  • Bitter Harvest

    Tri-City Herald investigates "a series of deaths, environmental damage and accidents that were traced back to one Columbia Basin farm -- the largest organic farm in the state." The stories reveal that the managers of the mint farm - the two brothers Mike and Gerald "Spud" Brown -- were ignoring pollution and state laws. Meanwhile, government "agencies failed to take decisive action to prevent deaths and pollution."
  • The trouble with trocars

    A Smart Money investigation examines the risks to patients operated with trocar, "a razor-sharp instrument used in millions of laparoscopic surgeries each year, including hysteroctomies and gall bladder operations." The device is described as a metal spike the doctor forces into the abdomen into the beginning of the surgery, stabbing blindly for a few moments, before a camera can be inserted. The story reveals that many doctors are "alarmed at the numbers of serious injuries and deaths they say are linked to this device." The reporter points to statistics, showing more than 40,000 trocar-related injuries in the last ten years, and reveals an FDA admittance that many injuries go underreported. The force for change now comes from malpractice insurers tired of paying out claims, the magazine finds.
  • Feeling the Heat

    National Journal looks at the governmental policy in fighting wildfires. "The nation's forests have become unnaturally - and dangerously - overgrown as a result of 100 years of overly aggressive fire suppression," reports the magazine. The story follows the battle between "environmental advocates who want to preserve the ecological values of the forests and timber industry supporters who are pushing for more logging on federal funds." The report includes statistics on the number of fires and the burned forests acreage in the 1990s.