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Lisa Song

Reporter

Photo of Lisa Song

Lisa Song reports on the environment, energy and climate change.

She joined ProPublica in 2017 after six years at InsideClimate News, where she covered climate science and environmental health. She was part of the reporting team that revealed Exxon’s shift from conducting global warming research to supporting climate denial, a series that was a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for public service. From 2013-2014 she reported extensively on air pollution from Texas’ oil and gas boom as part of a collaboration between several newsrooms. Lisa is a co-author of “The Dilbit Disaster,” which won a Pulitzer for national reporting. She has degrees in earth science and science writing from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“A Never-Ending Commitment”: The High Cost of Preserving Vulnerable Beaches

In the wake of hurricanes like Florence, the U.S. government pays to dump truckloads of sand onto eroding beaches, in a cycle that is said to harm ecosystems and disproportionately benefit the rich.

Hurricane Florence’s Surge Is Expected to Hit Homes That Already Cost the Government Millions

The storm is pummeling coastal towns that are battling rising sea levels and have been repeatedly bailed out by federal flood insurance.

There Was a Plan to Save This City From Flooding. But When the Rains Came, So Did Hesitance.

The Army Corps of Engineers’ delay in activating a floodway — land designated to take on water — cost millions of dollars in damage to Cairo, Illinois, and surrounding communities in 2011.

How the Army Corps’ Hesitation Nearly Destroyed a City

When the worst flood in nearly a century hit Cairo, Illinois, in 2011, the Army Corps waited before following an emergency plan designed to save a city of 2,800 people. See how that week unfolded and the delays and indecision that cost millions in avoidable damage.

To See How Levees Increase Flooding, We Built Our Own

We ran water through a room-sized river model to show how levees can make flooding worse. Try it yourself.

Flood Thy Neighbor: Who Stays Dry and Who Decides?

One Missouri town’s levee saga captures what's wrong with America's approach to controlling rivers.

Suppressed Study: The EPA Underestimated Dangers of Widespread Chemicals

The CDC has quietly published a controversial review of perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, that indicates more people are at risk of drinking contaminated water than previously thought.

Inside a Secretive Lobbying Effort to Deregulate Federal Levees

The effort seeks to undermine federal rules meant to prevent “levee wars” — where communities race to boost their own flood protection at the expense of their neighbors.

New Model Shows Towns on the Wrong Side of an Illinois Levee District Are Treading Water

By building up their own flood protections, some communities have ensured they would be less affected by future floods, while their neighbors would fare worse.

How Overbuilt Levees Along the Upper Mississippi River Push Floods Onto Others

A new analysis of government data shows how levee districts that have raised their levees without federal permits would be better protected against future flooding, while those that follow the rules would see extra flooding.

How Harvey Hurt Houston, in 10 Maps

The city got two “100-year” storms in the two years before Harvey made landfall. All three storms flooded thousands of houses, many outside of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s flood plains.

Sudden Shift at a Public Health Journal Leaves Scientists Feeling Censored

Claiming overreach by a new publisher, the journal’s editorial board asks for disciplinary action from the National Library of Medicine.

Buyouts Won’t Be the Answer for Many Frequent Flooding Victims

Even after Hurricane Harvey, the best efforts by Harris County officials to purchase the most flood-prone homes won’t make a dent in the larger problem — worsening flooding, and a buyout program that can’t keep up.

Independent Monitors Found Benzene Levels After Harvey Six Times Higher Than Guidelines

After an oil tank in Houston’s Manchester neighborhood caved in, private monitors found levels that far exceeded California’s health guideline

Where the Government Spends to Keep People in Flood-Prone Houston Neighborhoods

The government has shelled out $265 million for flood claims on 1,155 severe repetitive loss properties in the flood insurance program in Harris County.

Houston’s Dams Won’t Fail. But Many Homes Will Have to Be Flooded to Save Them

The water that goes around the spillways is going to have to leave the reservoir somehow — and enter areas surrounding it.

Trump Administration Says It Isn’t Anti-Science As It Seeks to Slash EPA Science Office

The Office of Research and Development has been at frontlines of virtually every environmental crisis. Trump wants to cut its funding in half.

As Seas Around Mar-a-Lago Rise, Trump’s Cuts Could Damage Local Climate Work

The president’s budget calls for ending an environmental program that had supported climate efforts in his and several Cabinet members’ backyards.

As Trump Slashes EPA, Worry Over the Fate of an Agency Doing Similar Work

Will the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences’ work on the effects of pesticides, chemicals and cancer-causing compounds be undamaged by the new administration?

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