Véronique LaCapra

Science Reporter

Science reporter Véronique LaCapra first caught the radio bug writing commentaries for NPR affiliate WAMU in Washington, D.C. After producing her first audio documentaries at the Duke Center for Documentary Studies in N.C., she was hooked! She has done ecological research in the Brazilian Pantanal; regulated pesticides for the Environmental Protection Agency in Arlington, Va.; been a freelance writer and volunteer in South Africa; and contributed radio features to the Voice of America in Washington, D.C. She earned a Ph.D. in ecosystem ecology from the University of California in Santa Barbara, and a B.A. in environmental policy and biology from Cornell. LaCapra grew up in Cambridge, Mass., and in her mother’s home town of Auxerre, France.

Ways To Connect

Ameren Missouri is asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed against the company by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

The suit filed in January alleges that Ameren violated the Clean Air Act by making multi-million-dollar modifications to its coal-fired power plant in Festus without installing required pollution controls and obtaining the necessary permits.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has added the Washington County Lead District-Furnace Creek site in Washington County, Missouri, to the federal Superfund National Priorities List (NPL).

The NPL is a list of the nation's hazardous waste sites with the highest priority for cleanup.

Monsanto is entering a multi-year research collaboration with San Diego-based Sapphire Energy.

Sapphire specializes in genetically-engineering algae with the goal of producing drop-in replacements for fuels like gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.

The collaboration between Sapphire and Monsanto will focus on identifying genes that positively affect growth in algae and that might also increase agricultural crop yields.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has released a new report about its planned re-evaluation of the future use of the Missouri River, and is looking for more public input on the study.

The draft report summarizes the more than 1,200 comments received by the Corps last year during the study scoping period.

(Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio)

St. Louis area medical professionals are throwing their support behind a bill making its way through the Missouri legislature. The bill would help protect high school athletes from concussions.

Among other measures, the High School Sports Brain Injury Prevention Act would require student athletes to be cleared by a doctor before returning to play or practice.

(Art Chimes)

“Food deserts” – places without access to fresh produce and other healthy foods – continue to be a problem throughout the U.S.

Here in St. Louis, the Old North Grocery Co-op opened last summer, in an effort to increase healthy food options in an underserved part of the city. It’s the first co-op in Missouri to serve a predominantly low-income neighborhood.

The director of USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Roger Beachy was in St. Louis recently visiting the Old North co-op and discussing the issue of nutrition.

Ameren is pushing back against EPA proposals to cut carbon emissions from power plants, saying it needs more time to comply.
(Veronique LaCapra/St. Louis Public Radio)

In the small Franklin County town of Labadie, Missouri, about 35 miles west of St. Louis, a debate is raging over what to do with millions of tons of coal ash.

The dispute is pitting area residents against the utility company Ameren – and putting Franklin County’s commissioners in the middle of the fight.

Starting on Tuesday, Fontbonne University is hosting the “Minds of Peace Experiment.”

The three-day event brings together five Israelis and five Palestinians who now live in St. Louis, to try to negotiate a peaceful solution to the conflict in the Middle East.

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill says Congress needs to play by the same rules as everyone else.

Speaking at her St. Louis office on Sunday, the Democratic Senator unveiled a package of reforms she says will help bring transparency and accountability to Congress.

McCaskill proposed creating an independent watchdog office to oversee Senate operations and take complaints from the public.

EPA Regional Administrator Karl Brooks says the federal government is confident Ameren Missouri violated the Clean Air Act at its Rush Island power plant near Festus.

Brooks was responding to a letter sent to the EPA last month by Senator Roy Blunt.

In the letter, Blunt defended Ameren and accused the EPA of overreaching its authority in order to “broadly penalize the use of coal in the United States.”

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