As the Salton Sea shrinks, it leaves behind a toxic reminder of the cost of making a desert bloom

It’s just past noon on a Wednesday, but the bar at the Ski Inn in Bombay Beach, California, is already packed. The crowd is mostly Canadian, snowbirds escaping to the desert spas and country club communities that dominate this southeastern corner of the state, just 50 miles from Mexico. Bombay Beach is not their destination,… » Read More

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Here are the rural residents who sued the world’s largest hog producer over waste and odors – and won.

In a federal courtroom in Raleigh, North Carolina, a 14-year-old honor student named Alexandria McKoy swore to tell the truth. Then she settled in to testify against the world’s largest pork producer. McKoy had traveled 90 miles from Bladen County, part of the flat and farm-heavy coastal plain that covers most of eastern North Carolina.… » Read More

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A breathtaking lack of oversight for air emissions from animal farms

Farm pollution typically makes the news only when catastrophe strikes: A hurricane hits North Carolina and washes hog manure into neighboring homes, or the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico grows due to fertilizer runoff into the Mississippi. But every day, the largest animal farms release air pollution, including noxious gases from livestock manure,… » Read More

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Are ‘forever chemicals’ in our milk? Nobody really knows.

At Art Schaap’s dairy farm in Clovis, New Mexico, sprinklers draw from deep wells to water green fields of sorghum and corn. Near the milking barn Schaap built almost three decades ago, glossy black-and-white cows lap water from a pipe.  Schaap used to ship thousands of gallons of milk each day to milk co-ops and… » Read More

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Arizona’s water supplies are drying up. How will its farmers survive?

You could almost visit Arizona without noticing it was a farming state. If you flew into Phoenix in an aisle seat, for instance, and spent your time in the city, you might not see it. But if you happened to drive south beyond the car shops and warehouses, across the sandy flats of mesquite and creosote, over… » Read More

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Food scholarships. Homeless shelters. Emergency loans.

One of the first lessons Jalyn Wharton learned her freshman year at Kennesaw State University was how to stretch a pizza so it would feed her for a week. It wasn’t the only time she’d had to ration food. When she was in high school, her family became homeless and Wharton would sometimes eat less… » Read More

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The strange, uncertain fate of Alaska’s biggest wild salmon habitat

Anna Hoover and I ease up and down in limestone-colored water on a warm, windless afternoon in early July, our backs to the mouth of the Egegik River. She’s distracted, perched in the captain’s seat of her 32-foot drift boat. She glances at her phone, checking the time. The state manages fishing on a tight… » Read More

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Today’s special: Grilled salmon laced with plastic

Nearly 50 years ago, scientists studying the North Atlantic Ocean started noticing that tiny fragments of plastic were turning up in their plankton and seaweed samples. The microparticles, they found, absorbed toxic chemicals and were then eaten by flounder, perch, and other fish. Until recently, though, researchers thought these ingested plastics stayed in a creature’s guts and… » Read More

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For years, complaints about North Carolina’s hog pollution vanished in state bureaucracy

In September 2016, with Tropical Storm Hermine bearing down on North Carolina, Kemp Burdette rented a single-engine plane and flew over Duplin County. Burdette, a riverkeeper with the environmental group Cape Fear River Watch, was worried that some of the local pig farmers might try to drain their manure lagoons before the rains hit, to… » Read More

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