Stories

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

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Search results for "landfills" ...

  • Better Government Association: Recycling in Chicago

    Chicago, long notorious for mismanaging its recycling programs, allows a private city recycling hauler to divert tons of residential plastics and paper into landfills the company owns. The situation creates an unfair system that treats residents differently depending solely on where they live, costing taxpayers twice to handle the same materials and making Chicago the worst city in the nation in terms of its recycling rate.
  • Environmental Justice, Denied

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Civil Rights has one mission: to ensure entities that receive EPA funding do not discriminate against communities straddling industry fencelines. Yet time and again, communities of color living in the shadows of sewage plants, incinerators and landfills have found their claims of harm denied or ignored by the EPA’s civil-rights office, a first-ever analysis by the Center for Public Integrity shows. In its 22-year history, the office has never made a formal finding of a civil-rights violation by regulatory agencies or companies operating in U.S. communities. Since our publication, the agency has worked to revamp this program and promised to track progress.
  • Hydrogen Energy: Pollution or Solution

    This is the result of a two-month investigation into a proposed, federally-funded "green-energy" power plant in the middle of California's Central Valley. This plant planned to gasify coal and use new technology to diminish the amount of CO2 released into the air. This would be done by using carbon sequestration in nearby oil fields, creating jobs and energy for the valley. However this report shows that while this power plant reduces CO2 emissions and creates dozens of temporary jobs, the additional environmental impacts are substantial. The plant plans to truck in coal dust past schools and neighborhoods, use millions of gallons of water a day in drought-stricken farming country, pollute the air with particulate pollution in the most polluted air region in the country, store hazardous chemicals near schools and homes, fill landfills at an alarming rate, AND at the end of it all the plant will produce at times NO electricity.
  • Trashed Trailers

    Contaminated flood waters roared through Northern Colorado mobile home parks in September 2013. When the waters receded, some of the homes were soaked to the rooflines and were knocked from their foundations. Hundreds of the homes were condemned and left to rot and mold for months. Government officials presumed the homes would end up in landfills. However, a six-month 9Wants to Know investigation spanning five counties discovered profiteers were sneaking these mobile homes into new communities, fixing them up without proper building permits and safety inspections, and marketing them to unsuspecting families. 9Wants to Know found government regulators were blindsided by the flood trailer problem due to a tremendous lack of oversight in the mobile home industry. As a result of their investigation, government officials scrambled to identify the flooded homes and bar unsafe housing from their communities.
  • Radioactive Dumping

    "Tennessee, for nearly 20 years, had been allowing low level radioactive waste to be disposed of in 5 ordinary trash landfills, strategically located throughout the state without public knowledge, with out a public hearing and in violation of NRC regulations."
  • OC Helps Fuel the Toxic Waste Pipeline

    This article investigates how polluting companies, like National Cement Co, are not careful about eliminating toxic waste. Consequently, people who live near these companies suffer from headaches, nosebleeds and other symptoms. One of the major problems is burning solvents, because they are hard to destroy completely. Representatives from the companies say that burning chemicals and hazardous waste is a safer solution that using landfills -- this article shows that they might be wrong..and suggests reforms that might improve the situation.
  • The Immortal Landfill

    Governing takes a look at landfills, such as Cedar Hills landfill near Seattle, and refutes the idea that landfills are obsolete. As long as burying trash remains the cheapest option for waste disposal, it will remain popular.
  • A guide to trash management: the changing mix

    Governing reports on changes that take place in local waste management systems, as governments "confront rapidly evolving solid waste policy requirements." The story looks at administrators' ambitious efforts to build costly incinerators or to increase the capacity of landfills, while the amount of solid waste is growing nationwide. Recycling programs can hardly grow anymore, the magazine reveals. The main finding is that today's counties and cities see more potential for "preventing waste through source reduction programs, spurring markets for recyclable materials and working with innovative private ventures that use or dispose of wastes."
  • What Monsanto Knew

    The Nation investigates Monsanto's efforts to conceal the ongoing contamination in Anniston, Alabama, during the 60s and the 70s. The story reveals that the ecological system in the region has been damaged by contamination from polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB). "The neighborhood around the plant [of Monsanto] is populated with by people with cancer, young women with damaged ovaries, children who are learning-impaired and people whose ailments have been diagnosed as acute toxic syndrome," reports the Nation. The article cites Monsanto's internal memos showing that the company's management has been aware of the problem for decades.
  • Mass Destruction

    Boston Magazine examines the state of New England, which has experienced tremendous growth in recent years. As Stephen J. Simurda writes: "Eastern New England is becoming one urban sprawl. There are too many cars for the roads. There won't be enough fresh water for the houses that are already being built along I-495. The landfills are full...And while many of us have paid little attention, a small but growing band of planners, environmentalists and state officials has bad news for us. 'There's a good chance,' one says, 'that we're going to strangle ourselves.'" Simurda's investigation reveals that Massachusett's eco-system is out-of-wack due to this rampant urban growth.