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" ...

  • 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.
  • Hollywood Sting

    When the FBI raided the offices of California State Sen. Ronald Calderon in June 2012, the state’s news media had little idea of what was really going on. Some reporters immediately speculated that the raid was related to links Calderon had with a Southern California water district. But they were wrong. Indeed, no one knew the extraordinary story behind that FBI raid until Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit obtained, through confidential sources, a 124-page sealed affidavit that laid out the government’s case against the embattled senator. In its series, titled “Hollywood Sting,’’ Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit exposed the sordid tale of Sen. Calderon’s alleged bribery and corruption and brought viewers and readers inside the unfolding narrative of an elaborate FBI sting. The network devoted more than an hour of on-air coverage to the story and published its findings on Oct. 30, 2013. The story prompted a “leak’’ investigation by the U.S. Justice Department into how Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit obtained the secret affidavit. DOJ announced the inquiry the day after we broke the story. Just last week, a special agent for DOJ’s Office of Inspector General contacted James Wedick, a former senior FBI supervisor who was interviewed for the story. The investigator sought to question Wedick about Al Jazeera correspondent Josh Bernstein’s contacts in the bureau. The investigator also contacted a lawyer representing Al Jazeera.
  • Sewage Leaks

    This entry includes three articles stemming from Daveen Rae Kurutz's investigation into illegal sewage dumping by the Franklin Township Municipal Sanitary Authority. During a seven week period, the authority discharged about 30 million gallons of sewage waste into Turtle Creek in Murrysville, Pa.
  • Hosed!

    “Hosed” was an investigation on a controversial water services contract proposed between the City of St. Louis and the multinational French corporation Veolia. There were several concerns here, especially given that the deal was done very quietly. The first concern was that the contract was gained through political cronyism, second that the main goal of the contract was a secret plan to privatize city water, and third that as a result of the contract, the city water division would be slashed to bare bones both in terms of staff and safety standards. The latter concern was raised based on the reputation of Veolia in other markets.
  • How Washington Starves Its Election Watchdog

    Born in the Watergate scandal’s ashes, Congress created the Federal Election Commission as a bulwark against political corruption and champion of transparency and disclosure. But a six-month investigation by the Center for Public Integrity, "How Washington Starves Its Election Watchdog," showed the agency is so fractured by partisan politicking and bereft with staffing and funding woes that it is “rotting from the inside out.”
  • Abuse in G4S' prison exposed in South Africa

    Global security firm G4S runs a prison for profit in Bloemfontein, South Africa. I work for the Wits Justice Project, a collective of investigative journalists who research the criminal justice system. I visited the prison for the first time in September 2012 and talked to some of the inmates who had written to us. Their tales were worrying; they complained about the ‘Ninjas’; the Emergency Security Team (EST), a group of about eight armed men who are called to emergency situations. They are supposed to use minimum force, but according to the prisoners, they went completely overboard. They would take prisoners to the single cell unit, strip them naked, pour water over them and electroshock them with the electronically charged shields they carry with them. Also, the inmates told me how they would be injected forcibly with anti-psychotic drugs, while some of them did not suffer from any mental illness. In addition, they spoke to me about very lengthy isolation, some were placed in isolation cells for up to three years, I spoke to approximately 70 inmates and 25 warders over a period of a year, but these three sources were most crucial: The general. One of the inmates, a general in one of the infamous prison gangs, supplied with me dossiers and names of inmates who had been electroshocked, forcibly injected or placed in isolation for unlawful periods (up to 3 years). The deep throat. A government official who had worked at the prison was very concerned and had written a report in 2009 listing 62 inmates who had been placed in isolation up to 3 years, some of whom had been denied life saving TB and HIV medication. he also compared the prison to Guantanamo bay and mentioned excessive electroshocking The freedom fighter. A warder and informal labour union leader was very helpful in providing an entry with other warders and he leaked interesting information. An anonymous source eventually provided the smoking gun: video and audio footage of a forced injection and audio of electro shocking. I wrote three main stories about the prison and chose to publish in South Africa as well as in the UK, as G4S is head quartered there. I wrote pieces for the South African Citypress and the Mail and Guardian, simultaneously running a story in the British Guardian. When I finally broke the big story on the electroshocks and the forced injections, I also worked closely with the BBC and the South African investigative tv programme Carte Blanche, I provided them access to the results of my year-long research and they produced tv items that were broadcast at the same time as my stories ran in the newspapers. This in turn led to a worldwide coverage of the issue.
  • Aquifer at Risk

    In the series “Aquifer at Risk,” The Desert Sun revealed significant declines in groundwater levels in the Palm Springs area and exposed how water agencies in the California desert haven’t adequately addressed the problem of falling water tables. Through an analysis of water agencies’ records, the newspaper found that the aquifer’s levels have plummeted over the years despite imported flows of water – a situation that poses serious long-term risks for an area that has sold itself as a desert oasis for tourists and retirees. The series examined the causes and impacts of groundwater depletion in California, and pinpointed groundwater pumping by golf courses as a major contributor to the problem in the Coachella Valley. The series prompted the area’s largest water district to make a major policy shift, led to the formation of a golf water conservation task force, and magnified concerns that California’s approach to managing groundwater has serious flaws.