Big Jim

This Billionaire Governor’s Coal Companies Owe Millions More in Environmental Fines

The richest person in West Virginia, who is also the state’s governor, owns coal companies that routinely violate environmental laws. Latest filings say the companies owe over $3 million for not complying with a major water pollution settlement.

Reporting From the South

The South appears frequently in our reporting on a range of issues, from health care to education to criminal justice, and many of these issues are playing out most crucially in this region. Our reporting unit, based in Atlanta, covers North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee.

Polluter’s Paradise

Air Quality Regulators in “Cancer Alley” Have Fallen Dangerously Behind

An audit found that the time it takes the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality to issue penalties to polluters has doubled. Some companies that have been known to violate air quality rules were able to keep at it for years, or even decades.

People Over 75 Are First in Line to Be Vaccinated Against COVID-19. The Average Black Person Here Doesn’t Live That Long.

Prioritizing COVID-19 vaccinations for people 75 and up can leave out Black Americans, who tend to die younger than their white counterparts. In majority-Black Shelby County, this gap raises questions of how to make the vaccine rollout equitable.

Power Play

“The People We Serve Are Paying Too Much for Energy:” Virginia Lawmakers Are Targeting Dominion Energy

A bipartisan group of Virginia lawmakers are pushing a legislative package to strengthen oversight of the state’s largest utility, Dominion Energy. The effort could return millions in refunds to customers.

Local Reporting Network Partners

ProPublica is supporting local and regional newsrooms as they work on important investigative projects affecting their communities. Some of our past and present partners in the region:

MLK50: Justice Through Journalism
Memphis, Tennessee
Mountain State Spotlight
West Virginia
The Palm Beach Post
Palm Beach, Florida
Georgia Health News
Atlanta
Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting
Louisville, Kentucky
Miami Herald
Miami
Richmond Times-Dispatch
Richmond, Virginia

Future of Program for Brain-Damaged Children Now Rests With Powerful Florida Official

Florida’s chief financial officer must name new board members for the Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Association, as his office undertakes an audit and an investigation prompted by our reporting.

Campaign Spending at Trump Properties Down, but Not Out

New filings show federal political committees significantly scaled back spending at Trump-owned hotels and restaurants, though some loyalist campaigns remain.

Facing New Complaint, South Carolina Magistrate Removed as County’s Chief Judge

Magistrate Angel Underwood was removed from her post after court officials sat on a complaint for years. Underwood has been accused of failing to remain impartial toward the local sheriff’s department, which her husband used to run.

The Smoke Comes Every Year. Sugar Companies Say the Air Is Safe.

To harvest more than half of America’s cane sugar, billion-dollar companies set fire to fields, a money-saving practice that’s being banned by other countries.

Sugar Companies Said Our Investigation Is Flawed and Biased. Let’s Dive Into Why That’s Not the Case.

ProPublica and The Palm Beach Post published an investigation into the air quality in Florida’s heartland, where more than half the country’s cane sugar is harvested, often by burning the fields. Sugar companies challenged our reporting. We respond.

To Get a Shot at Justice, They Were Forced to Prove Their Disabled Daughter’s Intelligence

To qualify for Florida's NICA program, infants must suffer “substantial” damage to both body and mind. Though her body was broken, Brooklyn Grant’s mother and teachers knew she was smart. This is how they stood their ground — and won.

Florida Governor Signs Law Reforming Program for Brain-Damaged Infants

Parents who participate in the Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Association, or NICA, receive a pledge from lawmakers that they will no longer have to fight for “medically necessary” expenses the program has claimed to cover all along.

A Program Promised to Pay for Brain-Damaged Infants’ Care. Then It Sent Families to Medicaid Instead.

Florida lawmakers stripped parents of the right to sue over births gone terribly wrong, created a program to cover those claims, made hundreds of millions investing the program’s funds and then offloaded much of the actual costs to Medicaid.

Eugene Clemons May Be Ineligible for the Death Penalty. A Rigid Clinton-Era Law Could Force Him to Be Executed Anyway.

His lawyers presented no defense at trial. Then a clerk’s office misplaced a plea for his civil rights behind a file cabinet. Now, it’s almost impossible for the federal courts to address the problems with his case.

“Have You Ever in Your Life Attended a Meeting of the Ku Klux Klan?”

Why a team of reporters embarked on an in-depth exploration of 150 years of history in Alamance County, North Carolina.

How ICE Avoids Judicial Accountability by Quietly Releasing Immigrants Who Challenge Being Detained

ICE helps maintain the status quo of prolonged detentions by releasing immigrants without having their cases vindicated in court, according to a new report.

Marjorie Taylor Greene Appeared in a Super PAC Ad Asking for Money. That Might Break the Rules.

Greene is working with a Republican ad maker who has a history of racist remarks and ties to extremist gun groups.

Dubious Arrests, Death Threats and Confederate Loyalists: Welcome to Graham, N.C.

How a small town became host to a showdown between residents who want to confront its gruesome legacy and the Confederates who claim it to this day. Overseeing it all: a hardline sheriff with a history of restricting protest.

In a Small Town, a Battle for Racial Justice Confronts a Bloody Past and an Uncertain Future

A frustrated Black Lives Matter activist. A die-hard Confederate loyalist. A sheriff who won’t back down. In a place where protests are restricted and violence feels imminent, many cry: “We don’t want to die no more.”

Florida Program to Aid Brain-Damaged Infants Publicly Embraces Reforms It Once Fought

While the executive director of the Florida program has sent a letter to families saying they will get more benefits and “services you have long deserved,” some parents ask why NICA waited until lawmakers insisted before embracing reform.

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