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 "water" ...

  • Undrinkable

    Imagine if you turned on the tap and the water that poured out was undrinkable. That's the reality facing an estimated 100,000 Texans — many of them impoverished Latinos living along the Mexican border. The Texas Tribune exposed this public health crisis in a five-part series in March — a crucial reporting project that revealed the malfeasance, red tape, environmental woes, political infighting and cultural barriers that stood in the way of getting clean, safe water to the neediest parts of the state.
  • ACLU of Michigan: Flint Water Crisis

    This nomination is made by Kary Moss, Executive Director of the ACLU of Michigan, for work performed by the ACLU of Michigan’s Investigative Reporter, Curt Guyette. Curt’s work was pivotal in exposing the disastrous results of the State of Michigan’s decision to take the City of Flint off of the Detroit Water system and instead use the Flint River. At the time, the City was under the control of state-appointed emergency managers who had made the decision to switch the source of the City’s water as a cost-cutting measure. Two years ago the ACLU of Michigan created a new position of investigative report to examine and report on the repercussions of the State of Michigan’s use of a law that allowed it put an emergency manager in control of the city’s finances, divesting locally elected authorities of their powers. ACLU of Michigan legal staff provided additional help in filing Freedom of Information Act requests and helping Curt gain access to State of Michigan press briefings.
  • Tragedy on the Water

    A 20-year-old Iowa man died on May 31, 2014, while in the custody of a Missouri Highway Patrol trooper on the Lake of the Ozarks. Brandon Ellingson, stopped for suspicion of boating while intoxicated, was being transported to a patrol zone office when he fell – or, as the patrol initially said, jumped – from the trooper’s boat. His wrists were locked in handcuffs behind his back, and the life vest the trooper had placed over his head soon came off. Ellingson struggled to keep his head above water for several minutes before slipping to the bottom of the lake. Subsequent reporting revealed a series of mistakes by the trooper, a road veteran who had not received proper training to work the water after the Missouri Water Patrol was merged into the Highway Patrol in 2011.
  • Tainted Legacy

    "Legacy lawsuits" have cost oil companies hundreds of millions of dollars in Louisiana to clean up decades of contamination after state regulators turned a blind eye. Landowners and their attorneys say the lawsuits are the only way to get oilfield polluters to clean up their mess. The industry says the lawsuits are frivolous money grabs, used by greedy plaintiffs to dig deep into the pockets of Big Oil. We revealed that after hundreds of lawsuits, and hundreds of millions of dollars in judgments and settlements, only 12 sites have been cleaned up.
  • Deep Inside the Wild World of China’s Fracking Boom

    Mother Jones' Jaeah Lee and Climate Desk's James West traveled to central China and uncovered alarming trends with global consequences. The duo reveals how as China, as it aims to wean itself from coal, has called on multinational oil and gas giants to help tap into its vast natural gas resources. As fracking technology crosses over from the fields of Pennsylvania to the mountains of Sichuan, so have questions about its risks and consequences. The practice, which has been linked to contaminated water, methane leaks, and earthquakes in the United States, may pose greater risks in China, given what one expert describes as a "pollute first, clean up later" mentality. Their yearlong investigation includes a five-part video series complete with data visualizations and charts, expert and insider perspectives, and rich, on-the-ground documentary footage.
  • Flushing Money

    The story details how California’s capital city, Sacramento, has delayed the mandated installation of water meters by more than a decade by adding on hundreds of millions of dollars of unnecessary, wasteful, often dangerous construction.
  • 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.
  • Boat Launch: Dark, Deadly and Unregulated

    A News Tribune investigation found that at least eight cars have plunged into the water at the Narrows Marina boat launch over the past 17 years. Four of 11 occupants were killed and another was left permanently disabled. The accidents involved many different types of people, and all the incidents involved similar conditions: Dark, rainy and high tide. Despite the deaths, the owner of the marina did little to improve safety at the boat launch and management even discouraged further media coverage of a rescue at the location. The News Tribune also found no local or state government regulations specific to boat launch facilities.
  • Unchecked irrigation threatens to sap Minnesota groundwater

    This project yielded both a radio report and an online story that documented widespread illegal crop irrigation in Minnesota, a normally water-rich state that saw several instances of diminishing groundwater supplies during recent droughts. MPR found compelling evidence that about a third of the more than 1000 irrigation wells drilled in the state between 2008 and 2012 operated illegally without a permit for a time, some of them continuing to operate illegally. They used satellite photographs to show that many of the unpermitted wells were near operating irrigation systems.
  • Money Down the Drain

    In Money Down the Drain, Northeast Ohio Media Group reporters explored whether there is a less costly, greener alternative to the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District’s $3 billion plan to manage stormwater and sewage by boring giant tunnels beneath the region. The series mapped the district’s history of favoring so-called “gray infrastructure” to comply with federal clean water laws and debunked sewer officials’ claims that green technologies – such as water retention ponds - would inherently be more costly than tunnels. The reporters researched the efficacy of alternative sewer management plans and visited Philadelphia, considered by many to be leading a movement by U.S. cities considering greener solutions to their messy sewage overflow problems. The four-part series concluded with an examination of potential opportunities to transform large expanses of vacant property in Cleveland into park-like stormwater retention features. The team did not set out to prove that green infrastructure is superior to tunnels. Rather, they aimed to expose the district’s failure so far to consider alternatives that officials in other cities believe could save their ratepayers millions – if not billions – of dollars, while driving home to readers just how much the tunnels will cost them. Within a month of the series’ conclusion, sewer district officials announced that they would spend $900,000 on green projects near a major road expansion program and pledged to study the possibility of replacing large stretches of the planned tunnel with green infrastructure.