Energy + Environment

As utilities spend billions on transmission, support builds for independent monitoring

BY: - November 22, 2022

An aging electric grid, fossil fuel power plant retirements and a massive renewable electricity buildout are all contributing to a boom in transmission and distribution wire projects by electric utilities across the country. In 2020, investor-owned electric utilities spent $25 billion on transmission, up from $23.7 billion in 2019, figures that the Edison Electric Institute, which […]

Large CAFOs are known polluters. Here’s why EPA permits only cover one-third

BY: - November 21, 2022

This story was originally published by Investigate Midwest.  The Environmental Protection Agency is charged with protecting important waterways from pollution, but manure from concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, continues to harm waterways — and only one-third of the largest facilities have a federal permit. EPA permits require CAFO operators to tell the agency how […]

Kansas, western Missouri at low risk for insufficient electrical supply this winter

BY: - November 18, 2022

The electrical grid that covers Kansas and western Missouri is expected to have plenty of power to keep up with demand this winter. But in the event of severe weather, the St. Louis area could be at risk.  The North American Electric Reliability Corporation released its winter outlook Thursday assessing potential vulnerabilities to the grid. […]

Citing concerns about China, states mull limits on foreign ownership of farmland

BY: - November 11, 2022

This story was originally published by Investigate Midwest.  Amid growing concern about Chinese investment in U.S. agriculture, there has been a renewed push to limit and more closely monitor foreign ownership of farmland across the country. At least eight states considered implementing a new limit on foreign control of agricultural land, and one, Indiana, passed […]

Amid major federal investment in electric cars, it’s time for states to step up, advocates say

BY: - November 7, 2022

For years, electric vehicles posed something of a chicken-and-egg problem.  Mass adoption, seen as critical to cutting the largest single source of U.S. carbon emissions, couldn’t happen until the infrastructure to allow drivers to recharge wherever they were heading was in place. And those charging stations weren’t coming until more drivers switched to plug-in electric […]

Coal plant operators shirking responsibilities on ash cleanup, report contends

BY: - November 7, 2022

In the wake of major coal ash spills from power plant containment ponds in Tennessee and into the Dan River along the North Carolina and Virginia border, the federal Environmental Protection Agency in 2015 laid out the first federal rules for managing the ash, one of the nation’s largest waste streams, and the toxins it contains. But more than […]

Climate funding could suffer in the farm bill under GOP control of Congress

BY: - November 4, 2022

WASHINGTON — Republicans who may be taking control of Congress in next week’s midterm elections have not been very specific about many policy goals—but the farm bill is an exception. Members of the GOP in the U.S. House and Senate are sending strong signals they want to strip climate funding from the massive legislation in 2023 […]

USDA gives $73 million to create, expand smaller livestock processors

BY: - November 2, 2022

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced its first grant awards on Wednesday — totaling about $73 million — to increase the processing capacity of smaller, independent meatpackers in 16 states. They range from a $292,000 grant to provide independent Montana farmers with a USDA-inspected meat processing facility — which is required to sell the products […]

Even as drought forces water cutbacks, climate gets short shrift in midterm election

BY: - October 31, 2022

LAKE MEAD, Nev. — The streaks of white on the rock ringing the nation’s largest reservoir show how far its water levels have dropped since it was last full. Lake Mead and nearby Lake Powell, which send water to 40 million people in the Southwest, are at their lowest levels since they were filled in […]

Program meant to help farmers in trade war overspent, lacked transparency and compliance checks

BY: , and - October 26, 2022

This article was produced in collaboration with Investigate Midwest and Gray Television’s InvestigateTV. A U.S. Department of Agriculture program touted as relief for lost trade during the Trump-era trade war with China spent unprecedented amounts of money, bypassed Congressional approval and lacked checks to ensure the payments went to eligible farmers. The Market Facilitation Program, […]

States are vying for money to start ‘hydrogen hubs.’ What are they?

BY: - October 24, 2022

Across the country, states are inking agreements with neighbors or striking out on their own to pursue billions in federal funding to set up “hydrogen hubs,” clustered centers for production, storage and use of the gas that many see as a crucial piece of the puzzle for decarbonizing the U.S. economy. How broad a role […]

Spire Missouri’s proposed rate hike draws ire of Kansas City officials, residents

BY: - October 24, 2022

Environmental and consumer advocate groups, individuals and even the city of Kansas City are pushing back against a proposed double-digit rate hike by Missouri’s largest natural gas utility. Spire, which serves almost 1.2 million customers in Missouri, hopes to boost its natural gas rates to bring in $152 million. It needs approval from the Missouri […]