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Environment

Series

Bombs in Our Backyard

Investigating One of America’s Greatest Polluters

Killing the Colorado

The Water Crisis in the West

Losing Ground

Southeast Louisiana is Disappearing, Quickly

After the Flood

The Challenge of Rebuilding as the Climate Changes

Injection Wells

The Hidden Risks of Pumping Waste Underground

Nuclear Safety

After Fukushima

Gulf Oil Spill

Investigating the Impact of the BP Spill

Fracking

Gas Drilling’s Environmental Threat

Stories

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

Rethinking the ‘Infrastructure’ Discussion Amid a Blitz of Hurricanes

Several experts on climate and resilience talk about the role of government. “Viewed correctly, sensible safeguards are part of freedom, not a retreat from it.”

How the Truth Can Get Damaged in a Hurricane, Too

The recent monster storms have kicked up a fair amount of falsehoods. We talk with a reporter trying to hold on to the facts.

Development and Disasters — A Deadly Combination Well Beyond Houston

Scientists warn of more and expanding “bull’s-eyes” as Americans build in parts of the country at ever greater risk because of climate change and severe weather.

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 Has Broad Power to Block Climate Change Report

Influential advisers press the Trump administration to subject a draft climate change report to a “red team” review that many scientists decry as misplaced.

Dangerous Pollutants in Military’s Open Burns Greater Than Thought, Tests Indicate

The first results in a national effort to better measure the levels of contaminants released through the burning of munitions and their waste show elevated levels of lead, arsenic and other toxins.

Has the Moment for Environmental Justice Been Lost?

Facing Trump’s proposals for cutting programs that help minorities and the poor, Democrats scramble to make up for missed opportunities to protect them.

Kaboom Town

The U.S. military burns millions of pounds of munitions in a tiny, African-American corner of Louisiana. The town’s residents say they’re forgotten in the plume.

In Colfax, Echoes of Another Conflict

A photographer who covered the war in Iraq appreciates how threats can come to seem routine.

One Year, One Facility, 1.7 Million Pounds of Hazardous Waste Burned in Open Air

Explore every shipment of hazardous waste sent to Colfax in 2015 and was burned or detonated into open air.

Open Burns, Ill Winds

The Pentagon’s handling of munitions and their waste has poisoned millions of acres, and left Americans to guess at the threat to their health.

Toxic Fires

Across the Country, Military Sites Burn Hazardous Waste Into Open Air

In Flint Water Crisis, Could Involuntary Manslaughter Charges Actually Lead to Prison Time?

Prosecutors will try to prove five Michigan officials were responsible for a Legionnaires’ death because they knew about the problem, but failed to warn the public. Similar cases of environmental disasters have not resulted in convictions, but there are reasons Flint could break the mold.

There Are Lots of Climate Uncertainties. Let’s Acknowledge and Plan for Them With Honesty.

A New York Times column on the climate set off yet another dangerous tempest of exaggeration and simplification.

As One of Its Chief Sources of Water Dries Up, California Eases Restrictions on Use Nonetheless

A single relatively wet winter has led California officials to relax in a way some water experts fear is reckless.

Drought be Dammed

The water crisis in the West has renewed debate about the effectiveness of major dams, with some pushing for the enormous Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River to be decommissioned.

‘We’re Sitting Ducks’

Houston, home to millions of people and one of the largest shipping lanes in the world, is unprepared for the hurricane that could bring ecological and economic disaster.

Hell and High Water (Full Text)

Houston is the fourth-largest city in the country. It's home to the nation's largest refining and petrochemical complex, where billions of gallons of oil and dangerous chemicals are stored. And it's a sitting duck for the next big hurricane. Why isn't Texas ready?

Liquid Assets

A maverick hedge fund manager thinks Wall Street is the answer to the water crisis in the West.

Less Than Zero

Despite decades of accepted science, California and Arizona are still miscounting their water supplies.

How Much Water Does the West Really Have?

As America’s west has waged its battle against water scarcity, some of its officials have been miscalculating to some degree just how much water is actually available. If states in the West keep managing water this way, we risk a water crisis even worse than we fear.

Picturing the Drought

Documenting the water crisis in the West, a photographer confronts distress, beauty and man’s complicity.

End of the Miracle Machines: Inside the Power Plant Fueling America's Drought

The Navajo Generating Station helps move trillions of gallons of water over mountains, through canals, 336 miles into Phoenix and Tucson. But it comes at an enormous cost.

A Wonder in Decline

The disappearing Lake Powell in pictures

Use It or Lose It: Across the West, Exercising One’s Right to Waste Water

“Use it or lose it” clauses give farmers, ranchers and governments holding water rights a powerful incentive to use more water than they need.

Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas, While Water Supplies Last

How 40 years of unchecked growth may eventually bust Las Vegas’ water supply.

The ‘Water Witch’: Pat Mulroy Preached Conservation While Backing Growth in Las Vegas

Despite Pat Mulroy's conservation bona fides, Las Vegas' former water chief put the city's expansion above all else. Did she push Vegas past its limits? “I've had it right up to here with all this ‘Stop your growth,’” she says.

What You Need to Know About the Water Crisis in the West

What led to the West's historic water crisis? What can be done to preserve the Colorado River? ProPublica explores the situation, at a glance.

Killing the Colorado: Explore the River

How the Colorado was turned into a giant plumbing system.

Holy Crop: How Federal Dollars Are Financing the Water Crisis in the West

The federal subsidies that prop up cotton farming in Arizona are just one of myriad ways policymakers have refused to reshape laws to reflect water shortages throughout the Colorado River Basin states.

Sharpening the Government’s Blurry Maps

The Senate may soon vote on legislation that would require FEMA to prepare more accurate maps before flood insurance rates can be raised.

Federal Flood Maps Left New York Unprepared for Sandy — and FEMA Knew It

The agency ignored state and city officials' appeals to update the maps with better data until it was too late.

What Happened After Congress Passed a Climate Change Law? Very Little

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has failed to set up a body that would make recommendations on how to deal with rising seas.

Using Outdated Data, FEMA Is Wrongly Placing Homeowners in Flood Zones

Homeowners have to bear the cost of fixing the agency's mistakes.

Why So Many Flood Maps Are Still Out of Date

A Q&A with Professor David Maidment on what makes today’s maps 10 times more accurate than the ones much of the country is still stuck with

Four Ways the Government Subsidizes Risky Coastal Rebuilding

Certain federal programs encourage developers to build and rebuild in areas that are increasingly vulnerable to flooding and hurricanes.

Without a Final Map, New York Rebuilds on Uncertain Ground

A 2012 law now puts over 67,000 New York City structures at risk of skyrocketing flood insurance rates. Can Bloomberg's ambitious plan save the city's coastal neighborhoods?

As Need for New Flood Maps Rises, Congress and Obama Cut Funding

Funding to update the nation’s decades-old flood maps has been cut in half in recent years, even as extreme weather has grown more frequent.

After Sandy, Government Lends to Rebuild in Flood Zones

A ProPublica/WNYC analysis shows the federal government has approved $766 million to rebuild in areas prone to flooding.

Why 58 Representatives Who Voted for Hurricane Katrina Aid Voted Against Aid for Sandy

Bills that passed almost unanimously in 2005 have run into trouble this time around.

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