Signs of a silent poisoning
And many more stories: Introducing The New Lede
In my latest visit to Mead, Nebraska, the signs of a silent poisoning were all around: A farmhouse abandoned by its owners after their young children experienced health problems; a pond once filled with fish and frogs now barren of all life; university researchers busy collecting blood and urine from residents to analyze them for contaminants; and a local family drinking water only from plastic bottles because tests show chemical contamination of their drinking well.
In a story out today, I chronicle not only the devastating impacts of a pesticide poisoning of a large region in eastern Nebraska, but the frustration, fears and challenges that come with the monumental $100 million effort to clean up the manmade mess created by an ethanol plant using pesticide-coated seeds in production for biofuel.
Crews of environmental engineers are filtering millions of gallons of water through newly constructed treatment units and adopting techniques seen at some U.S. Superfund sites to contain and control the waste. The measures include the use of a helicopter to drop a temporary, protective shell-like coating of cement, fiber and clay over 16 acres of waste piles.
Despite the efforts, researchers say it is not clear if or how all of the damage can be erased. Just this morning, new data shows concerning information about levels of the chemicals potentially heading into drinking wells throughout the region.
To see that story, you can visit The Guardian, OR you can visit a new journalism initiative I am launching with the Environmental Working Group (EWG).
The New Lede aims to provide investigative reporting, analysis, and explanatory articles about a broad range of environmental topics that too often are ignored or underreported by mainstream media sources, filling that gap with vital information regarding the state of our air, water, food and climate.
At The New Lede, we are offering to share our stories with outlets large and small; we’re welcoming opinion columns from all view points engaged in this world of environmental work, and we’re looking to hire! (And yes, we’re looking for donations, as doing this kind of journalism costs money.)
In The New Lede today, you will also find a conversation with lawyer Rob Bilott on the latest in his litigation over PFAS and his letter to President Biden; a look at efforts to make “green steel” viable, and many other articles and opinion pieces.
A more formal press release and larger announcement will be out in May, and we’re still polishing the website appearance, but I hope you’ll give it a look, and share.
Read all about it - in The New Lede.