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August 30, 2023
Local TV and radio stations' award-winning investigative news units uncover government corruption, question those in power and ensure consumers have a powerful voice. This valuable investigative work improves the quality of lives in our communities and provides viewers and listeners with the information they need to be informed citizens.
In a wide-ranging investigation centered on an issue in a small Pennsylvania town, NBC News reported on the national problem of abandoned oil and gas wells potentially leaking toxic chemicals into air and waterways. Congress set aside $4.7 billion under the bipartisan infrastructure law to fund an effort to plug these wells, but, according to the report, "it’s a massive and complicated undertaking."
An investigation by ABC owned-and-operated ABC13 in Houston, Texas, reported on the death of Matthew Shelton, a young man with diabetes, in the Harris County jail, part of an ongoing investigation into jail deaths. During this process, the station uncovered long wait times and a lack of information about these deaths in response to records requests. "For this to happen and then for there to be no answers - that’s almost even worse than actual death itself," Shelton’s sister told the station.
WRAL, Capitol Broadcasting's NBC affiliate in Raleigh, N.C., produced a new documentary, Forever Chemicals: North Carolina's Toxic Tap Water, to explore the legacy of chemical contamination left in the river, air and groundwater surrounding a chemical plant in the area. "We spent months traveling to the contaminated areas and talking with the people still living with contaminated water," WRAL Investigative Documentary Reporter Cristin Severance told TVNewsCheck. "It's shocking that people are still fighting to get clean water in North Carolina in 2023."
NBC Connecticut's investigative unit followed the story of an elderly couple who were trapped under live wires for close to an hour. Connecticut regulators are proposing new emergency response standards for electric utility Eversource during critical incidents. The state’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority reported that Eversource's response to the incident was delayed, and that the response team lacked certain appropriate training and resources.
After decades of regulatory inaction highlighted in an NPR/FRONTLINE investigation in 2018, the Labor Department is proposing a new rule limiting miners' exposure to a toxic dust that has been linked to a recent epidemic of severe black lung disease among coal miners. The new rule, if enacted, would limit exposure to the same figure used in federal regulations covering other types of workplaces, such as construction sites.
More than 2.47 million American jobs depend on broadcasting, and the local broadcast radio and television industry - and the businesses that depend on it - generate $1.17 trillion annually for the nation's economy.