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" ...

  • American Catch

    In American Catch, award-winning author Paul Greenberg takes the same skills that won him acclaim in Four Fish to uncover the tragic unraveling of the nation’s seafood supply—telling the surprising story of why Americans stopped eating from their own waters. In 2005, the United States imported five billion pounds of seafood, nearly double what we imported twenty years earlier. Bizarrely, during that same period, our seafood exports quadrupled. American Catch examines New York oysters, Gulf shrimp, and Alaskan salmon to reveal how it came to be that 91 percent of the seafood Americans eat is foreign. Despite the challenges, hope abounds. In New York, Greenberg connects an oyster restoration project with a vision for how the bivalves might save the city from rising tides. In the Gulf, shrimpers band together to offer local catch direct to consumers. And in Bristol Bay, fishermen, environmentalists, and local Alaskans gather to roadblock Pebble Mine. With American Catch, Paul Greenberg proposes a way to break the current destructive patterns of consumption and return American catch back to American eaters.
  • The Politics of Poison

    Arsenic is consumed by people in small amounts in the food we eat and the water we drink. EPA scientists concluded that if 100,000 women consumed the legal limit of arsenic each day 730 of them eventually would get lung or bladder cancer. The investigation found that a single paragraph inserted into a committee report by a member of Congress essentially ordered the EPA to halt its investigation of arsenic, or make public its arsenic findings, an action that could trigger stricter drinking water standards. A lobbyist for two pesticide companies acknowledged that he was among those who asked for the delay. As a direct result of the delay a week killer the EPA was going to ban at the end of 2013 remains on the market.
  • Building debt: $2 billion in bonds approved in districts formed by developers

    The story is about a series of obscure government agencies that are quietly building up more than $2 billion in debt in Denton County, Texas. The county ranks fifth among Texas counties with 62 and first in North Texas of the little-known special water districts, a type of government entity used by developers to finance infrastructure for residential and commercial developments. The story reveals how the districts debt and numbers proliferated after the state decided to halt related investigation and they deemed the investigations a waste of government resources.
  • Water's Edge--The crisis of rising sea levels

    Few subjects in the news stir as much controversy as climate change. In the U.S., the threat of rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the contribution of human activity to that threat, and even whether the climate is changing at all are fiercely debated and politically polarizing. Inconclusive science only further polarizes the issue. Lost in all the vitriol is one aspect of a changing environment that is not debatable: rising seas. Tidal waters worldwide have climbed an average of 8 inches over the past century. Yet the volume of journalism documenting rising seas as an immediate, observable phenomenon has been scant; more typically, news media have relied on extrapolations and predictions to create frightening scenarios far in the future. Reuters set out to change that in its series “Water’s Edge: the Crisis of Rising Sea Levels.” For this yearlong project, Reuters did its own science. We collected and analyzed vast stores of hard data and combined the results with on-the-ground reporting to produce stories unique in their treatment of rising seas not as a future threat, but as a troubling reality for millions of people living along the U.S. coast.
  • “China’s Real Estate Mogul” and “China’s Real Estate Bubble”

    This two-part report peers into China’s opaque economy through the windows of its gleaming new skyscrapers to reveal seemingly polar realities. On one hand, we look at the promise of the “new China” by profiling commercial real estate developer Zhang Xin, whose journey from a Maoist reeducation camp and sweatshops to becoming one of the richest women on earth is a metaphor of China’s rise from the backwaters of Communism to, as some put it, “Capitalism on steroids.” It’s the American dream lived out in Beijing. Xin’s buildings are modern shrines to Capitalism and globalism – statements of how China is opening up to Western ideas. But with financial gain comes a yearning for more. In a surprising moment, Xin publicly challenged her country’s leaders on our air, saying the current political system inevitably must be replaced by democracy: a rare and brave statement to make in such a forum.
  • Money Where Your Mouth Is - Portland's Fluoride Fight

    It would be May of 2013 when Portland residents were asked to decide an issue most major metropolitan areas had decided back in the ‘50s – should we add fluoride to the city’s drinking water supply? Determined to go beyond campaign sound bites, KATU Consumer Investigator Shellie Bailey-Shah sought to uncover scientific proof - either supporting or disputing the argument that fluoridated water would lead to fewer cavities in children. Crunching the state of Oregon’s raw data in more logical ways than the state itself had ever considered, Bailey-Shah provided voters with hyper-local evidence that fluoride would not, in fact, improve their children’s dental health. Moreover, Bailey-Shah revealed how the state – a strong political and financial supporter of the community fluoridation campaign – stonewalled efforts to bring these new revelations to light.
  • 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.
  • Disastrous Relief

    The Manitoba Association of Native Firefighters (or MANFF) was supposed to be an advocate for Aboriginal evacuees of the devastating Manitoba floods of 2011. Two First Nations communities were completely written-off by flood waters, leaving over 2,000 people homeless. MANFF was to make life easier for these evacuees as they waited-out government wrangling in hotels and rental houses scattered throughout the province, separated form loved ones and their home communities. $85 million (and counting) flowed through MANFF to care for these evacuees. And yet millions of dollars in bills went unpaid. Frustrated and frightened evacuees eventually contacted APTN with reports of bullying and mistreatment by MANFF staff. Melissa Ridgen looks for answers in APTN Investigates’ Season 5 premier, Disastrous Relief.
  • 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.
  • Pest Control: Syngenta's Secret Campaign to Silence Atrazine's Critics

    These stories detailed a secret campaign by Syngenta, the Swiss agricultural chemical giant, to spy on and discredit critics of atrazine, its highly profitable weed killer, used on three-quarters of all the corn grown in the United States. The main story was based on roughly 1,000 pages of documents under court seal that 100Reporters obtained under the Freedom of Information laws and a review of financial and other statements of nonprofits that defended and supported use of the herbicide. The company at the time faced a class action lawsuit over contamination of drinking water in six states, and maintained that the cost of clean-up could end atrazine sales in the United States.