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ASHEVILLE – The Sierra Club of Western North Carolina plans to honor Carolina Public Press with its 2016 Environmental Reporting Award.
A representative of the club informed CPP on Thursday about the award, which will be presented in early December.
It comes in recognition of the nonprofit organization’s ongoing investigative and in-depth work on the national forests and coal ash throughout the year.
A big part of that reporting effort has come from lead environment contributing reporter Jack Igelman. “It’s really exciting to be recognized for the quality of reporting that CPP strives to accomplish,” Igelman said Thursday after learning of the award.
“Understanding and reporting on complex topics like national forest management and coal ash take time to understand and are challenging to explain to readers. It’s deeply satisfying to know that the hard work and the skill of the CPP staff is valued by our community. That’s incentive for us to work even harder to report on stories that matter in the mountains of our state.”
With the U.S. Forest Service undergoing a revision of its master plan for national forests in Western North Carolina, Igelman has led coverage and analysis of developments in that process, including the some contentious gatherings of stakeholders, who bring many different sets of ideas to the table.
Managing Editor Frank Taylor has done much of the reporting on coal ash issues, including coverage of public hearings on basin cleanup concerns in Buncombe and Rutherford counties early this year. He also exposed questionable claims that coal ash was “harmless” in an independent article that Duke Energy was disseminating.
CPP’s Capital Bureau Chief Kirk Ross has followed the General Assembly’s shifting policy approach for regulating the cleanup of coal ash storage ponds. Contributor Ted Strong has also written extensively about coal ash, contributing to state policy coverage and exploring the possibility that coal ash contaminant in groundwater are causing illness.