Director of Media Relations, The Public Interest Network
Director of Media Relations, The Public Interest Network
As Tropical Storm Barry bears down on the Louisiana coast, Environment America, U.S. PIRG and Frontier Group — all part of the Public Interest Network — are sharing information that will help your readers and viewers contextualize what’s going on with regard to major environmental and health concerns.
The storm is expected to make landfall Saturday. Using forecasts as of July 11, there are 108 Superfund sites, 17 petroleum refineries, 12 crude oil rail terminals, 229 crude oil shipping docks and 1,160 offshore drilling platforms in the path of the storm (see map on our website).
Flooding of these sites can result in toxic substances finding their way into flood waters and nearby communities. For example, after 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, more than 190,000 barrels of oil spilled in Louisiana, and it took years to clean up much of the mess.
The following experts from across the Public Interest Network are available to provide quotes and background for your coverage:
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.
Steve Blackledge, [email protected] is the senior director of Environment America’s conservation program. Among other campaigns, Steve’s program works to protect wildlife and to fight against the scourge of offshore drilling.
Yana Kucher, [email protected] is the chairwoman of U.S. PIRG’s Toxics program. She has been with the Public Interest Network since 2000 and heads the network’s field analytics and planning team.
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.
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.
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.
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 Guardian, The Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. Luke was an integral part of Hurricane Harvey coverage for many of those outlets.
Check out our hurricane resources archive for more information.
Environment America is a national network of 29 state environmental groups. Our staff work together for clean air, clean water, clean energy, wildlife and open spaces, and a livable climate. Our members across the United States put grassroots support behind our research and advocacy.
U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups, is a consumer group that stands 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 provides information and ideas to help citizens build a cleaner, healthier, and more democratic America. We address issues that will define our nation’s course in the 21st century – from fracking to solar energy, global warming to transportation, clean water to clean elections. Our experts and writers deliver timely research and analysis that is accessible to the public, applying insights gleaned from a variety of disciplines to arrive at new ideas for solving pressing problems.
All three groups are part of The Public Interest Network, which runs organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world, a set of core values, and a strategic approach to getting things done.