Podcasting for a Sound Environment

The Environmental Integrity Podcast discusses new reports by the Environmental Integrity Project and analyzes important subjects in the news.


For decades, coal-fired power plants have been dumping millions of tons of waste every year — coal ash and scrubber sludge — into unlined pits.  The Environmental Integrity Project examined monitoring data available for the first time in 2018 and found that 91 percent of 265 plants across the U.S. are leaking toxic pollutants including arsenic, a carcinogen, into groundwater. This pollution sometimes contaminates local rivers, streams, and drinking water. (Photo J. Henry Fair/South Wings)


The Environmental Integrity Project examined two decades of EPA data and concluded that environmental enforcement under the Trump Administration in 2018 set record lows for penalties against polluters, as well as for people charged with environmental crimes.  In our report, “Less Enforcement: Communities at Risk,” we give 10 examples across the U.S., from Louisiana to Minnesota, of major environmental violations that the administration has failed to crack down on that threaten the health of local communities. (Photo Karen Kasmauski/International League of Conservation Photographers)


Our investigation of EPA records found that many large meat processing plants in the U.S. — often owned by international companies based in China, Brazil, Arkansas or elsewhere — are violating the federal Clean Water Act, with little enforcement and few penalties. This is polluting rivers, causing fish kills, and contaminating drinking water supplies, often in small, rural, lower-income communities with high minority populations, making it a real environmental justice issue.

Inspired to action by EIP’s report “Water Pollution from Slaughterhouses”, U.S. Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois is now demanding that the EPA strengthen its outdated water pollution standards for slaughterhouses nationally. In the photo above, wastewater from a Pilgrim’s Pride meat processing plant in Live Oak, Florida, pours into the Sewanee River. (Photo from John Moran/Environment Florida)