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 "environment" ...

  • Houston Chronicle: Silent Spills

    A joint investigation by the two news organizations (Houston Chronicle and AP)found that industrial spills unleashed by Hurricane Harvey in Houston were far worse than publicly reported. Impacted citizens were kept in the dark about their size and seriousness. State and federal officials misled the public with repeated assurances that no health hazards existed. Six months after Harvey, Texas regulators had not announced a single enforcement action from 89 incidents investigated. Reporters from the Chronicle and AP filed dozens of records requests, unearthing long-hidden government-funded research and cross-referencing spill data collected from a hodgepodge of state and local agencies to determine the true scope of the damage. The vital watchdog role they performed highlighted a lack of will by Texas state regulators to effectively police the petrochemical industry. But its industry-friendly approach had weakened local efforts to build cases against the worst polluters, many of them repeat environmental offenders.
  • The New Power Brokers: West Virginia’s Natural Gas Industry

    As the natural gas industry in West Virginia has boomed, it has taken the state down the same path as the coal industry, fueled by weakened protections for the environment and local residents, lax ethical rules, out-of-state gas producers who cheat local gas owners out of their profits, and a century-old property law doctrine that lets gas drillers do whatever they want to get the gas, whether they own the land or not.
  • Freelance: Abandoning American coal mines

    Since reaching a historical high in 2008, U.S. coal production plummeted by a third in the ensuing decade. Companies accounting for nearly half the coal dug across the country declared for bankruptcy in 2015 and 2016, and President Donald Trump’s rhetorical ending of the “war on coal” has shown no meaningful signs of reviving the industry. With the writing on the wall for U.S. coal, I investigated the system meant to guarantee that funds are available to pay for environmental cleanup. I built first-of-their-kind databases to determine how much money was in this system, where it was held and other trends in the industry such as levels of oversight and types of post-mining land uses. A combination of data analysis and ground-level reporting from around the country resulted in stories that showed myriad issues in protecting cleanup funds, which result in scarred land and polluted air and water.
  • CNBC: Oceans of Crime

    This is a crime story, set in the most open and lawless place on earth – the ocean. The perpetrators traffic in an illegal product – seafood. Their front-line workers are literally slaves. And almost anyone who buys salmon, canned tuna, or pet food is helping to fund this outlaw industry, whether they realize it or not. In this documentary about illegal fishing, CNBC illustrates the often shocking, unethical path much of our seafood takes from the water to our dinner plates, and what is being done to curb the often monumental abuses that occur along the way. Because illegal fishing is both a human rights and an environmental issue, CNBC’s goal was to explore the entire supply process and introduce all those involved – fishermen suffering abuse, the perpetrators, the would-be rescuers and enforcers, and the consumers who make it all possible, whether they know it or not.
  • Fighting The Wrong Fires

    OPB’s science and environment team spent a year analyzing government data, reviewing scientific literature and interviewing more than 100 people to find out why firefighting costs have soared and why, 30 years after its scientists first raised red flags, the U.S. Forest Service continues to risk lives and waste millions of dollars fighting fires it doesn't need to fight.
  • Toxic City: Sick Schools

    Children in Philadelphia public schools endure environmental hazards -- deteriorated asbestos, damaged lead paint, festering mold and rodent droppings -- that deprive them of a healthy place to learn and thrive. In reaching our major findings, we conducted 175 scientific tests at 19 elementary schools at a cost of nearly $9,000, built a custom database to analyze more than 250,000 room-by-room environmental records, and interviewed more than 120 teachers, parents, students and experts.
  • Flood-related spills ignored by TX officials

    The El Paso Times exposed the fact that even though they had civil-air patrol photos of them, Texas officials have mostly ignored scores of spills of oil and fracking fluid during severe floods in recent years. When they reported on the photos, which were posted on an obscure government website, the Texas Department of Public Safety ended public access to them. After subsequent reporting and editorializing, officials returned them to public view. They obtained and analyzed scores of regulatory reports to rebut regulators' claims that they respond to every spill. The problematic responses to the spills, however, continue.
  • The Price of Pork

    As Illinois hog confinements exploded in number and size, state officials promoted the industry even as it poisoned streams, trampled the rights of farm families and brushed aside worker reports of animal abuse, this groundbreaking series showed.
  • Federal-lands ranching: How grazing fell from its Western pedestal — and fueled Sagebrush Rebellion

    This story goes to the root of Sagebrush Rebellion, the anti-federalist movement that seeks to remove government control of Western public lands. This story seeks to factcheck the stance of infamous Rebel Rancher Cliven Bundy that the federal government has pushed ranchers off public lands through environmental regulation has rekindled an age-old battle. He and his sons have become symbols of the anti-federal government movement that has deep roots in the American West and may be stronger today than ever before. We arrived at two simple questions: How much has the number of cows grazing federal lands in fact declined, and can we illustrate that trend with data?
  • Dangerous Exposure

    Toxic chemicals seeping from industrial sites across the State of Indiana are contaminating neighborhoods and putting families at risk of dangerous exposure. 13 Investigates discovered most Indiana homeowners are in the dark about toxins lurking below the ground or in the air. The companies responsible for the contamination promised to clean up their messes as part of a voluntary program offered by the State. In exchange, the state provides participating companies legal immunity from getting sued, but 13 Investigates discovered major breakdowns in accountability. Companies hiding out in the program for decades failed to clean up as promised. At the same time Indiana's top environmental watchdog agency failed to enforce the rules to keep homeowners safe. 13 Investigates Reporter Sandra Chapman uncovers what's hidden, presses for answers and finally gets government admissions that the State simply lost track of some sites and poorly managed others. In response the state created new directives to prevent stalled cleanups from exposing neighborhoods to toxic threats. http://youtu.be/cbACoNGvHMU http://www.wthr.com/tags/dangerous-exposures