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

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.

Florida Lawmakers Send Lifeline to Families With Brain-Damaged Children

After a series of investigative articles by the Miami Herald and ProPublica, the Florida Legislature passed a host of reforms to a state-run program for children born with catastrophic brain injuries.

“They’re Trying to Make It So We Walk Away”: It’s About to Get Harder to File Lawsuits Saying Sugar Harvesters Poisoned the Air

Some residents in a rural farming community say sugar harvesting is poisoning the air. The Florida Legislature just passed a bill that would make it harder to sue.

Parents Want Justice for Birth Injuries. Hospitals Want to Strip Them of the Right to Make That Decision.

Florida hospitals rely on the state’s NICA program to protect themselves from costly lawsuits. When parents resist, some of those same hospitals ask a judge to appoint an “independent guardian” to take the decision away.

State-Supported “Clean Energy” Loans Are Putting Borrowers At Risk of Losing Their Homes

Dozens of Missouri homeowners who used PACE loans to fix up their houses ended up trapped in debt and could soon see their homes sold at auction.

Florida Lawmakers Endorse Wide-Ranging Reforms in Program to Aid Brain-Damaged Babies

Bills in the Florida House and Senate would increase benefits for families of brain-damaged babies, add parental representation to the program’s board and create an ombudsman, following investigative stories by the Miami Herald and ProPublica.

Natural Gas Is Getting Cheaper. Thousands Are Paying More To Heat Their Homes Anyway.

Charlotte Lane was a top lobbyist for utility companies. Now she regulates them. A little-known law she previously pushed has allowed them to charge West Virginians for expensive pipeline projects with little oversight and few consumer protections.

Lessons From Bessemer: What Amazon’s Union Defeat Means for the American Labor Movement

Did the failed vote in Alabama deliver a fatal blow to employees’ union efforts, or is it just a temporary setback? History offers a few clues.

“We Are Not Here or Funded to ‘Promote the Best Interest’ of the Children,” Wrote the Head of a Program for Brain-Damaged Infants

A Florida program promises support to families of severely brain-damaged infants. Instead, parents have been forced to choose between parenting and a paycheck. Poor communication and bureaucratic hurdles have made the situation worse.

Florida Plans Audit of Program That Blocks Parents of Brain-Damaged Newborns From Suing

Officials called for reforms hours after an investigation by the Miami Herald and ProPublica identified gaps in a Florida program that strips families of their right to sue when births go horribly wrong.

She Can’t Sue Her Doctor Over Her Baby’s Death. When She Spoke Out, She Was Silenced Again.

Ruth Jacques, distraught over the fatal injuries her son suffered during childbirth, couldn’t sue her doctor because of an obscure Florida state law. When she protested at his office, she was told to cease and desist.

When Births Go Horribly Wrong, Florida Protects Doctors and Forces Families to Pay the Price

A Florida program designed to reduce doctors’ malpractice bills strips families of their right to sue, offering instead a one-time payment and promises to cover medical expenses. Some parents report a bureaucratic nightmare that’s anything but supportive.

Barreras falsas: estas cosas no deberían impedirle vacunarse contra COVID-19

Se supone que las vacunas contra el coronavirus son gratuitas y están disponibles para todos en Estados Unidos, independientemente de su seguro o de su situación migratoria. Para algunos, no ha sido así.

False Barriers: These Things Should Not Prevent You From Getting a COVID Vaccine

Vaccinations for the coronavirus are supposed to be free and available to all Americans regardless of insurance or immigration status. For some, that isn’t how it has been playing out. Here are common false barriers to look out for.

Mo Brooks Compared Biden’s Election to the Start of the Civil War. Now He Wants a Senate Seat.

The Alabama Republican led the fight to overturn election results. On Jan. 6, he spoke to the crowd that later stormed the Capitol, resulting in five deaths. Brooks blamed antifa. Now he’s hoping it will get him elected to the Senate.

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