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.

South News Staff

South Editor
Mara Shalhoup
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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

“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.

The Coal Plant Next Door

Near America’s largest coal-fired power plant, toxins are showing up in drinking water and people have fallen ill. Thousands of pages of internal documents show how one giant energy company plans to avoid the cleanup costs.

There’s Only One State Where Falling Behind on Rent Could Mean Jail Time. That Could Change.

Only Arkansas permits criminal consequences for nonpayment of rent — and it has enforced the law during the pandemic. Now, after ProPublica investigated the practice, some legislators want to revoke the statute.

America’s Drinking Water Is Surprisingly Easy to Poison

The cyberbreach at a plant in Oldsmar, Florida, which could have resulted in a mass poisoning, was a reminder of a disturbing reality: Despite a decade of warnings, thousands of water systems around the country are still at risk.

How Inequity Gets Built Into America’s Vaccination System

People eligible for the coronavirus vaccine tell us they are running up against barriers that are designed into the very systems meant to serve those most at risk of dying of the disease. We plan to continue tracking these roadblocks.

How Many Vaccine Shots Go to Waste? Several States Aren’t Counting.

The CDC says health facilities should report unused and spoiled COVID-19 vaccines, but many are failing to do so. At a time when there aren’t enough shots to meet demand, significant numbers may be going in the trash.

Memphis-Area Residents Without Internet Must Wait Days for Vaccination Appointments, While Others Go to the Front of the Line

The county’s decision to prioritize vaccinations for internet users — and its failure to set aside any appointments for callers — raises issues of equity and access, say experts.

South Carolina’s Governor Addresses Magistrate Judge Controversy by Urging Changes

An investigation from the Post and Courier and ProPublica found that most judges had no law training and some accepted bribes, stole money and ignored constitutional protections. Now, South Carolina’s governor says he wants change.

The Radicalization of Kevin Greeson

How one man went from attending President Barack Obama’s inauguration to dying in the mob protesting Donald Trump’s election loss during the Capitol insurrection.

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