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Toxic Waters: Regulatory Absence Allows Chemical, Coal and Farm Industries to Pollute US Water Supplies

No federal regulations specifically govern the disposal of power plant discharges into waterways or landfills.

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Now, obviously they want to influence, right? You want to have a seat at the table, because otherwise you don’t get to say what the outcome looks like. But the environmentalists that I respect, that I speak to, say that they have these conversations, and they think that there is a real dialogue happening.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, we want to thank you for being with us. And as you head back to the Times, how is the mood there with a hundred people about to be --

CHARLES DUHIGG: Yeah, it’s -- you know, it’s --

AMY GOODMAN: -- pushed out of the newsroom? How many do you have in the newsroom?

CHARLES DUHIGG: I think we have almost -- over 1,200, I believe.

AMY GOODMAN: And a hundred are going to be axed by December?

CHARLES DUHIGG: A hundred are going to be either voluntarily or take a buyout. You know, it’s -- this project that we’ve done -- and we’ve spoken about this before -- we spent ten months building a database, and there were probably seven or eight people involved in it.

AMY GOODMAN: More extensive than the EPA.

CHARLES DUHIGG: More extensive than the EPA. And one of the things that readers said that was really encouraging is they said, you know, “Thank goodness the Times is doing this type of work. It’s expensive.” We’re living in this new world, and we’re trying to figure out how the newspaper can be economically viable in this new world. For anyone who’s watching who thinks that what the Times does is important, it’s important to -- we don’t do a very good job of saying, “Buy a subscription,” but if you buy a subscription, you’re supporting the Times, or the Journal or Democracy Now! or anything. You have to economically support the media institutions that you believe in. And what we’re seeing right now is that if people forget to support those institutions, we have to fire journalists.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And the reality is that there are virtually no media companies left in America that could spare seven people to work for months and months --

CHARLES DUHIGG: That’s exactly right.

JUAN GONZALEZ: -- on one project to be able to come up with a story.

CHARLES DUHIGG: Yeah, I mean, there’s a hand -- it used to be, every major city used to have a newspaper that did genuine investigative reporting. Now there’s, you know, two or three newspapers in this nation that really do it. And you don’t know the stories you don’t see, right? Nobody wakes up and says, “Oh, gosh, there was an important story on water, but nobody wrote it.” It’s very important that people support -- we’re so used to, at this point, getting our media for free over the internet and saying it’s such a wonderful world that we don’t have to pay for the news. But when you don’t pay for the news, people suffer, or the journalists suffer. And I know that public radio is dealing with this. You guys are dealing with this. We’re dealing with this. If readers and viewers believe in media, buy a subscription, send in donations.

AMY GOODMAN: And thanks also for helping to explain why people regularly now, every week, are being arrested throughout places like -- states like West Virginia, being arrest protesting, for example, mountaintop removal, coal power plants, etc.

CHARLES DUHIGG: Yeah. And there’s no one to cover it.

Amy Goodman is the host of the nationally syndicated radio news program, Democracy Now!

 
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