Hurricane season coverage: Data, resources and interview opportunities

Media Contacts


WASHINGTON — Tropical Storm Ana, the first named storm (tropical storm or hurricane) of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season, dissipated earlier this week. The development of Ana makes seven consecutive years of named storms before the official June 1 start of the season. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts another busy hurricane season. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center says to expect between 13-20 named storms including 6-10 hurricanes and 3-5 major hurricanes packing winds of at least 111 miles per hour.

This comes on the heels of the most active Atlantic hurricane season ever, with 30 named storms, including 12 that made landfall in the United States, in 2020. The Public Interest Network (which includes U.S. PIRGEnvironment AmericaFrontier Group 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 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 Rumpler[email protected], 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 toxics campaign advocate. She works 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 public health topics.

The connection between climate change and hurricanes:
Matt Casale[email protected], is the director of PIRG’s environment campaigns. Matt oversees PIRG’s toxics, transportation and zero waste campaigns, and leads The Public Interest Network’s climate program to promote a cleaner, healthier future for all Americans. Matt works on campaigns to facilitate the shift away from fossil fuels across all sectors to mitigate the impacts of climate change, including increasingly active hurricane seasons. Matt has been quoted on clean transportation and climate issues in major publications, including The New York Times and Washington Post.

Nuclear sites; and 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. 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 TimesFinancial Times and The Economist.

Consumer protection concerns:
Teresa Murray[email protected], is director of the Consumer Watchdog program with PIRG. 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, The New York Times, NPR and the Los Angeles Times.

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 the media on these and other environmental topics.

Florida Impact:
Jenna Stevens[email protected], is the state director for Environment America’s affiliate Environment Florida. In her role, Jenna promotes clean air, clean water, clean energy and open spaces in Florida through grassroots organizing and direct advocacy. Jenna has worked to defend federal and state climate and clean water protections, expand clean, renewable energy in Florida and protect the Florida coastline from offshore drilling. She also serves as the water team co-chair for the Everglades Coalition. Jenna has been quoted widely both on-camera and in print articles. She has spoken extensively to the media on these and other environmental topics.

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 and is co-chair of the Georgia Solar Energy Association. She has appeared on both television and radio and has been 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 in Virginia.