Environment

How a Mississippi canoe company is raising a new generation of river caretakers

The Mississippi River is an endangered river. For 25 years, a Clarksdale canoe company has worked to teach kids to respect and protect the waterway.

EPA formally denies Alabama’s plan for coal ash waste

The federal agency says the state’s plan was not as protective as federal standards, allowing toxic waste to remain in unlined pits that may contaminate groundwater. Alabama officials say they will appeal.

UAB building among Alabama’s first to feature ‘bird safe’ glass

Advocates hope the new glass will prevent window collisions, a leading causes of bird mortality.

Researchers look into community health impact of wood pellet production in rural Mississippi

Brown University and Tougaloo College students are testing for potential air and noise pollution near the Drax wood pellet plant in Gloster, Mississippi.

Alabama coal company sued for a home explosion is delinquent on dozens of penalties

Crimson Oak Grove Resources has been cited for 204 safety violations since the March 8 blast, many involving “significant and substantial” safety violations.

Alabama coal mine keeps digging after hundreds of fines and a fatal explosion

Following the death of a grandfather, Crimson Oak Grove Resources has left a community afraid for their homes and lives. An expert warns one resident may need to evacuate her home while she still can.

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Birmingham is 3rd worst in the Southeast for ozone pollution, new report says

The American Lung Association's "State of the Air" report shows some metro areas in the Gulf States continue to have poor air quality.

Once praised, settlement to help sickened BP oil spill workers leaves most with nearly nothing

Thousands of ordinary people who helped clean up after the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico say they got sick. A court settlement was supposed to help compensate them, but it hasn’t turned out as expected.

A ‘gassy’ Alabama coal mine was expanding under a home. After an explosion, two were left critically injured

Oak Grove Mine has a long history of safety violations. In 2006, federal officials evacuated its workers because of dangerous levels of methane, a flammable gas.

Alabamians want public officials to mitigate landslide risk

In Birmingham, residents want two properties shielded from development and turned into parkland. Councilors decided to protect one parcel years ago. The vote never stuck.

From sea to table to sea: How recycled oyster shells are restoring the Alabama coast

Gulf South oyster reefs are fading because of the changing climate. Alabama hopes to reverse this by using recycled shells to grow oyster gardens.

‘Sick!’ New kids book by Alabama author explores how animals fight germs

A new children's book by Alabama author Heather Montgomery explores how animals fight off pathogens.

Meet the Alabama woman who is turning her farm into an indigenous food forest

As the climate changes, some Gulf South producers are focusing on ways to preserve the land.

During Mardi Gras, tons of fun comes with tons of toxic beads

New Orleans and Mobile dispute where Mardi Gras was birthed, but both Gulf Coast cities struggle with the same plastic waste. Where will a greener carnival be reborn?

Will the Moody Landfill Fire Ever Be Extinguished? The EPA Isn’t So Sure.

One resident, a former firefighter, said the fire should be completely extinguished. An EPA official said that may not be possible.

Environmentalists rattled by radioactive risks of toxic coal ash

The EPA now recognizes the risks of gamma radiation from radium in coal ash, but many states aren’t even sure where the toxic waste has been used. In Alabama, environmental regulators say they do not track so-called ‘beneficial’ uses of coal ash.

Deadline approaches for USDA loan discrimination funds for underserved farmers

Gulf South farmers are racing to meet the deadline for DFAP. Some say the aid is a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done.

What did Alabama students think of the climate change quip in the presidential debate?

Two University of Alabama students, a conservative and a progressive, said they’re hoping for a more nuanced conversation on the environment.

Place, Erased: A virtual listening session with the Gulf States Newsroom; watch replay

Watch a replay of the Gulf States Newsroom's listening session for its recent series about towns transformed by major environmental shifts.

Meet the tiny fish that only call Jefferson County home

Though the creek water at Turkey Creek Nature Preserve is crystal clear, and thousands visit the preserve each year, it’s highly unlikely most will see three unique fish species that swim alongside them. They are the endangered watercress, rush and vermilion darters 

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How making Jackson’s famed Farish Street more green could also help cool it off

On the heels of Mississippi’s record-breaking summer, the historic neighborhood hopes that adding more trees and green space can solve its heat island problem.

A year after the Moody landfill fire: “We need just as much help now”

Around Thanksgiving a year ago a landfill near Moody caught fire blanketing the surrounding area with smoke. The fire burned for months before the Environmental Protection Agency covered the landfill with dirt to extinguish the flames, but there have been flare ups since. To understand what things are like now, we heard from one nearby resident.

Why trees are an environmental and health Swiss army knife

Cool Green Trees plants trees in under-resourced communities in the Birmingham area to help mitigate climate change and advance environmental justice initiatives.

Place, Erased: A look at Gulf South communities transformed by forces beyond their control

Reporters Danny McArthur and Drew Hawkins traveled across the Gulf South to tell the stories of three towns erased by major environmental shifts.

Place, Erased: Is this Mississippi community really a ghost town? It depends on who you ask

Some say this coastal Mississippi town doesn’t exist anymore, wiped off the map due to repeated storms. But to its residents, it’s still alive and well.

Place, Erased: The fight for the remains of a Louisiana town

Toxic pollution forced a small, Black community in Louisiana to relocate. Now, chemical companies say they own its final remnant — the town’s cemetery.

Place, Erased: How a drowned Alabama town still holds lessons 60 years later

Some southern towns have been erased by environmental disasters — whether natural or man-made. One Alabama town offers lessons on the hidden cost of progress.

In disposing coal ash, Alabama is not like other states

Toxic coal ash has polluted Alabama’s waters for years. Is the state doing enough to stop it?

In Alabama’s Paint Rock Valley, researchers count every tree thicker than a pencil

In an effort to better understand the biodiversity of north Alabama, scientists are conducting a “tree census,” with the goal of studying roughly 100,000 trees for 50 years.

Protecting Margaritaville: Jimmy Buffett, Bama and the Fight to Save the Manatee

The singer, who died Sept. 1, grew up in Mobile and had a huge following in Alabama, even if many of his devotees in the state were less than thrilled by his liberal politics.

Alabama’s John Christy may be the country’s best known and most criticized climate change skeptic

Alabama’s State Climatologist John Christy is no stranger to controversy and doesn’t shy away from the spotlight. His critics say his work has been plagued by errors and many of his conclusions dismissed.

The connection is growing between climate change and big storms

The connection between climate change, hurricanes and tornadoes is not so clear. But data is beginning to show some relationship. That's the topic of the latest story in our series "Alabama's Hot Topic: What Climate Change Could Bring."