Updated 2023 mid-hurricane season resource guide: data, resources & interview opportunities

Media Contacts
WASHINGTON As Idalia churns toward Florida’s Gulf Coast, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) predicts the storm will make landfall as a hurricane on Wednesday. After a slow start to the 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season, with only four named storms forming before Aug. 20, five named storms have coalesced since then. The first half of hurricane season ends on Thursday, Aug. 31.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which runs the NHC, predicted on Aug. 10 that hurricane season would worsen into an “above normal” year because of record-warm sea surface temperatures. That upgraded prediction came after a May forecast said to expect a less severe “Near-Normal 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season.”

To date this year, the U.S. mainland has witnessed only one Atlantic named storm (and a rare Pacific named storm.) Early last week, Tropical Storm Harold traversed southern Texas and Tropical Storm Hilary drenched parts of California and Nevada. 

The Public Interest Network (which includes PIRGEnvironment AmericaFrontier Group and state groups in Atlantic Coast and Gulf Coast states such as Florida, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, North CarolinaTexas and Virginia) is sharing information to help contextualize the major environmental, health and consumer concerns posed by the hurricanes that will inevitably come this season.

Our most recent data and graphics on potential environmental, health and consumer dangers created by hurricanes — and the flooding that follows:

The following experts are available to interview either over the phone or on camera:
Coal ash sites, hog manure lagoons, fracking ponds, oil and gas pipelines and other water pollution:

John Rumplerjrumpler@environmentamerica.org, runs Environment America’s clean water program. He directs our work to protect our rivers, lakes, streams and drinking water. He has co-authored several research reports, including Accidents Waiting to Happen: Toxic threats to our rivers, lakes and streams. 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. He’s appeared on camera for CBS This Morning, among other outlets. He’s also been interviewed by such outlets as U.S. News and World ReportBloomberg and WebMD.

Superfund and other toxic waste facilities:

Danielle Melgar[email protected] is PIRG’s food and agriculture program advocate and the former toxics program advocate. She has worked to protect our health and the environment, overseeing PIRG’s programs to clean up toxic Superfund sites, protect public health from toxic chemicals in personal care and beauty products and reduce the use of pesticides and other public health threats. She has spoken extensively to the media on these and other topics.

The connection between climate change and hurricanes:

Tony Dutzik[email protected], is associate director and senior policy analyst with Frontier Group, a public policy think tank, where he has authored dozens of reports on a wide array of topics, including climate change. A former journalist, Tony’s research and ideas on climate, energy and transportation policy have helped shape public policy debates across the United States and have earned coverage in outlets from National Public Radio to The New York Times and the Financial Times.

Energy resiliency/renewable energy:

Johanna Neumannjohanna@environmentamerica.org, is the senior director of Environment America’s Campaign for 100% Renewable Energy. Johanna oversees our work to set ambitious clean energy goals at the state and national level and make sure Americans understand the benefits that renewable sources of energy, especially solar and wind bring to our communities vs. the dangers of fossil fuels and nuclear power. Johanna has been quoted on clean energy issues in major publications including the Washington PostThe Hill and CNN, and she appeared in an NBC News package about solar power and battery storage keeping the lights on during storms.

Consumer protection concerns:

Teresa Murray[email protected] is director of PIRG’s Consumer Watchdog program. She has written or overseen reports and analyses on topics including price gouging during emergencies, toxic consumer products and scams targeting consumers. She’s passionate about educating people about predatory tactics they may face when they’re vulnerable. Prior to joining PIRG in 2020, Teresa worked as a business journalist and consumer columnist for more than 20 years for Ohio’s largest daily newspaper. Her work with PIRG has been featured by media outlets including CNN, NPR, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.


Carolinas Impact:

Katie Craig[email protected], runs PIRG’s state affiliate NCPIRG. As a North Carolina native, Katie is no stranger to hurricane season and has seen the growing frequency and impacts of these storms in communities across the state. Katie oversees the organization’s statewide campaigns, research, communication and legislative advocacy efforts. Her work to eliminate single use plastics, protect consumers and more has been featured in broadcast, web and print outlets across North Carolina.

Florida Impact:

Bill Newton[email protected], 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. He’s testified multiple times to the Florida Legislature on insurance issues. He is on the board of the Consumer Federation of America. He has wide-ranging experience as a media spokesman and has been through two hurricanes and several tropical storms.

Georgia Impact:

Jennette Gayerjennette@environmentgeorgia.org, runs Environment America’s affiliate Environment Georgia. Jennette has led successful campaigns to designate the headwaters of the Conasauga River as Georgia’s first “outstanding national resource water,” expand parks along the Chattahoochee River and Jekyll Island State Park, and stop construction of three new coal-fired power plants in Georgia. She’s also an advocate for solar policies. She serves on the leadership team for the Georgia Water Coalition and is co-chair of the Georgia Solar Energy Association. She has extensive broadcast and print media experience.

Maryland Impact:

Emily Scarr[email protected], runs PIRG’s state affiliate Maryland PIRG. Emily has authored reports on Maryland’s energy efficiency program, PFAS chemicals, and the role of big money in Maryland elections. She is quoted often by in-state media, and both the Washington Post and the Baltimore Sun have published her op-eds.

New Jersey Impact:

Doug O’Malleydomalley@environmentnewjersey.org, runs Environment America’s affiliate Environment New Jersey. Doug has led campaigns to fast-track New Jersey’s clean energy economy via offshore wind, solar and energy efficiency programs, to rejoin New Jersey in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) program, oppose the expansion of fossil fuel projects, and expand electric vehicles across the state. He has also led campaigns focused on New Jersey’s drinking water quality and protection of the state’s watershed lands. He was recognized by EPA Region II with an Environmental Quality Award in 2012. He is a go-to expert on these topics for New Jersey media, and has been quoted by broader media including the New York Times and E&E.

Texas Impact:

Luke Metzger[email protected], runs Environment America’s affiliate Environment Texas. He has led successful campaigns to win permanent protection for the Christmas Mountains of Big Bend; to compel Exxon, Shell, Chevron Phillips and Petrobras to cut air pollution at four Texas refineries and chemical plants; and to boost state funding for water conservation and parks. This spring, Luke was a featured expert on three panels/tours at the Society of Environmental Journalists’ annual conference. He has extensive on-air experience, including appearances on CNN, MSNBC and NPR. He’s also been quoted widely by publications including the Guardian, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and New York Times.

Virginia Impact:

Elly Boehmereboehmer@environmentvirginia.org, runs Environment America’s affiliate Environment Virginia. She works to promote clean air, clean water and special places in Virginia through direct advocacy and grassroots organizing. Elly has worked to defend federal and state climate policies, expand clean, renewable energy in Virginia and protect coastal resiliency. Elly has engaged the media around these and other issues throughout Virginia