Wasted Places: Brownfields stories from our collaborators

Wasted Places is a collaborative investigation by six nonprofit newsrooms into federal and state programs designed to cleanup and redevelop polluted tracts known as brownfields.The project was coordinated by the Investigative News Network, and reported and written by the Connecticut Health Investigative Team, City Limits, Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism, the New England Center for Investigative Reporting, the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism and INN.

Wasted Places: Slow, underfunded EPA program falls short in toxic site cleanups

The stated goals of the federal government’s Brownfields Program are to fund the cleanup of contamination, to improve the quality of life of blighted communities and to provide economic stimulus. But an investigation by nonprofit newsrooms across the country, coordinated by the Investigative News Network, found problems in every community examined.

Ariana Preciado, 7, and her brother Aidan, 4, are the fifth generation of their family to live in Carrollville. Their mother, Sarah Preciado, says the neighborhood has deteriorated since the factories shut down in the 1980s. Kate Golden/Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism

Recession worsens brownfields backlog in Wisconsin

While the state has made some progress with the backlog in the past two decades, a “startling” number of plant closings during the recent recession has created “an entirely new generation of brownfields,” according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Investigative reports, news and updates

News and notes: New tools for monitoring environmental data in Wisconsin; the governor’s campaign contributors favor keeping him in control of DNR; DOJ hosts free seminars on government sunshine; and tax revenue was down last year.