Hurricane Michael coverage: Data, resources and interview opportunities

Media Contacts


With Hurricane Michael expected to make landfall Wednesday in western Florida as a major, Category 3 hurricane, then continue through the Southeast, The Public Interest Network (which includes U.S. PIRG, Environment America, Environment Florida, Environment Georgia, Environment North Carolina and Environment Virginia, among other organizations) is sharing information to help your readers and viewers contextualize the major environmental, health and consumer concerns posed by Michael.

Data and graphics from our think tank Frontier Group:

Materials about Superfund sites here.

Materials about coal ash here, including newly-added Florida data for Michael.

Materials about hog manure lagoons here.

Data and graphics from U.S. PIRG:

Consumer tip sheet here.

The following experts are available to interview either over the phone or on camera:

Superfund sites:

Kara Cook-Schultz, [email protected], has run U.S. PIRG’s Toxics program since 2016. A graduate of Oklahoma State University, she studied environmental health at University College-Dublin. In 2013, she worked to organize a class action against private pesticide sprayers in Colorado, which led to a precedent-setting injunction against pesticide overspray. Her work to monitor chemical disasters during hurricane season in 2017 put pressure on the EPA to increase Superfund cleanup in emergency areas. She has appeared on CBS This Morning, CBSN, NPR and numerous local news stations, and she has been quoted by The New York Times, The Washington Post and the Associated Press.

Coal ash sites, hog manure lagoons at factory farms and other water pollution:

John Rumpler, [email protected], runs Environment America’s clean water campaign. He directs our work to protect our rivers, lakes, streams, and drinking water. He has co-authored several research reports, including the recent Accidents Waiting to Happen: Coal Ash Ponds Put Our Waterways at Risk. John has also testified before Congress on enforcement of clean water laws. His current efforts include defending the Clean Water Act, curbing pollution from factory farms, and working to “Get the Lead Out” of drinking water.

Consumer protection concerns:

Adam Garber, [email protected], is U.S. PIRG’s Consumer Watchdog. He works to protect consumers from a wide array of dangers including contaminated food, hazardous products and fraud. He educates the public about looming threats, empowers consumers to protect themselves, and shifts the marketplace to put consumers first. Following Hurricane Florence, Adam was featured in CBS News and other major outlets discussing potential scams, price gouging and other consumer abuses to watch out for.

Florida Impact:

Bill Newton is the deputy director of the Florida Consumer Action Network, an affiliate of the Public Interest Network. Bill, who is based in the Tampa area, is an expert on insurance issues including life, homeowner’s, auto, and insurance fraud. Testified to the NAIC Life Insurance Committee. Multiple testimonies to the Florida Legislature on insurance issues. Worked with successive Florida Insurance Consumer Advocates on positions to help consumers. He is on the board of the Consumer Federation of America.

Georgia Impact:

Jennette Gayer, [email protected], is the state director for Environment America’s affiliate Environment Georgia. Jennette has run successful campaigns to designate Georgia’s first outstanding national resource water along the headwaters of the Conasauga River, expand parks along the Chattahoochee River and Jekyll Island State Park, and stop construction of three new coal-fired power plants in Georgia, while also advocating for solar policies that have helped make Georgia one of the top 10 states for solar in the country. She serves on the leadership team for the Georgia Water Coalition.

Carolinas Impact:

Drew Ball, [email protected], is the state director for Environment America’s affiliate Environment North Carolina. During Hurricane Florence, Drew provided interviews and information to several national and local media. In his role, Drew promotes clean air, clean water, clean energy and open spaces in North Carolina. Prior to assuming his current role, Drew served as director of government relations for North Carolina’s Sierra Club.

Virginia Impact:

Elly Boehmer, [email protected], is the state director for Environment America’s affiliate Environment Virginia. In this role, she works to promote clean air, clean water and special places in Virginia. Elly has worked to defend federal climate policies, expand clean, renewable energy in Virginia and protect coastal resiliency programs. Following Hurricane Harvey last fall, Elly provided information to the media about how EPA budget cuts could impact Virginia’s ability to starve off the worst impacts of extreme weather.