Hurricane season coverage: Data, resources and interview opportunities

Media Contacts
Josh Chetwynd

The Public Interest Network

The 2019 hurricane season officially gets underway tomorrow (June 1) with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicting between 4 and 8 hurricanes this year. On the heels of the devastating Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael in 2018, The Public Interest Network (which includes U.S. PIRGEnvironment America, and state groups in often-impacted states such as Florida, Georgia, 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 from our think tank Frontier Group on potential dangers created by hurricanes — and the flooding that follows:
Materials about coal ash.
Materials about fracking waste pits.
Materials about animal waste lagoons.
Materials about toxic waste facilities.
Materials about oil trains and pipelines.
Materials about Superfund sites.
Materials about nuclear power plants.

Data and graphics from U.S. PIRG:
Consumer tip sheet (from Hurricane Florence).

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, industrial toxic sites 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: 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 Report, Bloomberg and WebMD.

Superfund sites:
Kara Cook-Schultz[email protected], has run U.S. PIRG’s Toxics program since 2016. In 2013, she worked to organize a class action suit 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 MorningCBSNNPR and numerous local news stations, and she has been quoted by The New York Times, The Washington PostUSA Today and the Associated Press.

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.

Nuclear sites; and the connection between global warming 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. His work on nuclear power includes supervising the production of Too Close to Home, which highlighted the risk to drinking water supplies of a Fukushima-type accident in the United States, and contributing to Frontier Group’s response to the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011. A former journalist, Tony has been featured in reports by such media outlets as The New York Times, Financial Times and The Economist.

The connection between global warming and hurricanes:
Jesse Torrence[email protected], is the senior director of climate campaigns for Environment America. At the national level, he runs the organization’s initiatives to ensure that the United States meets its commitments under the Paris agreement. Jesse also  works with our state directors on plans to get states to generate 100 percent of their energy from renewable sources.

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. Drew has been quoted widely both on-camera and in print articles. He has spoken extensively to media on these and other environmental topics.

Florida Impact:
Jennifer Rubiello, [email protected]is the state director for Environment America’s affiliate Environment Florida. She focuses on protecting the state’s air, water and open spaces through direct advocacy and grassroots organizing. She has led successful campaigns to close loopholes in the Clean Water Act, build support for the Clean Power Plan and stop the expansion of fracking in Florida. Jennifer has been an articulate spokesperson on these and other issues on local and regional TV, radio, online and print outlets.

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 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. She’s also an advocate for solar policies. She serves on the leadership team for the Georgia Water Coalition. She has appeared on both television and radio as well as being quoted in numerous major regional publications.

Texas Impact:
Luke Metzger, [email protected], is the state director for Environment America’s affiliate Environment Texas. Luke 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 funding for water conservation and state parks. He has extensive media experience. Along with appearing on-air for such TV and radio outlets as CNN, MSNBC and NPR, he’s been quoted widely in print on a variety of subjects by publications including The GuardianThe Washington Postthe Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.  

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 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 programs. Elly has engaged the media around these and other issues including the impacts of extreme water in Virginia.


The Public Interest Network runs organizations committed to our vision of a better world, a set of core values, and a strategic approach to getting things done.

Environment America is the national federation of statewide, citizen-based advocacy organizations working for a cleaner, greener, healthier future.

U.S. PIRG is the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups. PIRGs are non-profit, non-partisan public interest advocacy organizations that stand up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety, our financial security, or our right to fully participate in our democratic society.

Frontier Group is a think tank that provides information and ideas to help build a cleaner, healthier and more democratic America.