Writer: Alexandra Tempus

Environment

Presto Chango: How Flood Map Revisions Allow Building in Risky Areas

Across the country, developers regularly use flood map changes to build in vulnerable areas after getting FEMA to approve measures such as elevating homes, building retention ponds and raising the land with fill. But it's not always enough to prevent flooding and increased risks for people nearby.

Consumer Protection

Privacy Fears Rising as DNA Test Companies Shift to New Ventures

As genetic testing companies increasingly engage in medical and pharmaceutical ventures, a regulatory gap in consumer privacy protections is drawing calls for change and even legislative proposals.

Public Health

Growing Calls for FDA to Speed Approval of Quick, At-Home Coronavirus Tests

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is under fire for setting what critics say are near-impossible standards for quick, at-home Covid-19 tests that could provide a breakthrough in stemming the spread of the virus.

Environment

Moving Away from Fossil Fuel: The Escalating Push for Setbacks From Drilling Sites

Experts say that more than a decade of research—including several new studies—makes it clear that existing buffer zones from oil and gas wells are inadequate to protect public health. Now, political pressure to push oil and gas wells as far as a half-mile from homes and other buildings is peaking across the country, over industry alarm that such measures amount to a de facto ban on drilling.

Environment

Electric Utilities Challenged for Slow-Walking Switch from Natural Gas to Clean Renewable Energy

Even in the gray fog of a pandemic, news about the future of the U.S. power sector has been dominated by a sunny outlook on renewable energy.  In January, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that most new electric power generation in 2020 would come from wind and solar.

Environment

Thirsty Future for American West, as ”Megadrought” Grips Some of the Fastest-Growing U.S. Cities

Western states and their mushrooming municipalities long have grappled with the twin concerns of rapid growth and dwindling water supplies. Now, in the midst of an historic megadrought predicted to last many more years, the issue has grown increasingly urgent. 

Consumer Protection

Here Come the Frauds: From Bogus Vaccine Kits to ‘Silver Solution,’ Coronavirus Cons Begin

The swindles have begun. As Americans struggle to cope with the spread of COVID-19, they will also need to brace themselves for “disaster fraud”—those cons that rely on post-catastrophe chaos to separate people from their money.