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.

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Climate Change
5:38 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Missouri’s Power Plants Among Worst U.S. Greenhouse Gas Polluters

This report by the Environment America Research & Policy Center says coal-fired power plants are responsible for about 40 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide pollution.
Credit Environment America

Missouri's coal-fired power plants are among the largest sources of carbon dioxide pollution in the country and a significant contributor to global warming.

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Breast Cancer
3:24 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

For Young Women, Drinking Alcohol Increases The Risk Of Breast Cancer

Young women who average a drink per day have a 13 percent higher risk of developing breast cancer than non-drinkers, according to researchers at Wash U.
Washington University

Updated on August 29 to change 13% to 11% after further clarification from study co-author Graham Colditz.

A new study out of Washington University suggests that young women who drink regularly are at increased risk for developing breast cancer.

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Bridgeton Landfill
3:18 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

Mo. DNR: The Bridgeton Landfill Fire Is Moving And We Want More Temperature Monitors To Track It

A map from May 2013 outlining the then-location of the underground fire and buried nuclear waste at the landfill. The new temperature probes Mo. DNR is requesting are to be installed roughly along the edges of the landfill's narrow neck.
Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 5:40 p.m. to add Missouri Coalition for the Environment letter and comment from Republic Services.

The fire within the Bridgeton Landfill is still smoldering and now the Missouri Department of Natural Resources is ordering the company which operates the landfill to install additional temperature monitors to track the fire.

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Plant Biodiversity
2:15 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Missouri Botanical Garden Completes Encyclopedia Of Missouri's Native Plants

The Flora of Missouri includes detailed information on all of Missouri's native vascular plants, like this purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea).
Lisa Francis, Missouri Botanical Garden

The Missouri Botanical Garden has completed a 26-year effort to document the state's native plants.

The three-volume Flora of Missouri contains illustrations, plant distribution maps, and a detailed description of each species, including its taxonomy, uses, and conservation status.

This encyclopedic work updates the original Flora of Missouri, first published in 1963 by the late Julian Steyermark.

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Coal Ash
3:11 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

EPA Holds Public Hearing Over Coal Ash Contamination In Jefferson County

Location of coal ash piles at Rotary Drilling Supply showing proximity to Willers Lake in Festus, Mo.
Credit (via Google Maps)

The Environmental Protection Agency is holding a public hearing Thursday evening about a proposed agreement to address water pollution from the illegal disposal of coal ash from Ameren’s Rush Island Power Plant.

According to the EPA, approximately 140,000 tons of ash containing heavy metals and other toxic substances contaminated Jefferson County wetlands, an unnamed tributary to Plattin Creek and a portion of Willers Lake.

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Energy - Environment
9:38 am
Tue August 20, 2013

Mo. Environmental Group Sues Army Corps Over Pipeline Project

Enbridge is proposing to build the Flanagan South Pipeline, a nearly 600-mile, 36-inch diameter interstate crude oil pipeline that will cross through parts of Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma.
Enbridge Energy Company, Inc.

Updated at 5:00 p.m.

A St. Louis-based environmental group has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for failing to provide information about a multi-state oil pipeline project.

The Missouri Coalition for the Environment says the Corps unlawfully withheld documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act.

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Air Quality
6:00 am
Mon August 19, 2013

SLU Students Help NASA Ozone Study Soar Over Saint Louis

SLU students Joseph Wilkins, Patrick Walsh, Jackie Ringhausen and Tim Barbeau (standing, from left to right), and Valparaiso Univ. trainers Alex Kotsakis and Mark Spychala (crouching, left to right) stabilize the balloon as it fills with helium.
(Art Chimes)

If you happen to be near the Saint Louis Science Center planetarium at around 2 o’clock in the afternoon, look up. You might see a weather balloon.

Students at Saint Louis University are launching them as part of a study sponsored by the U.S. space agency NASA.

The mission aims to improve our understanding of air pollution and global climate.

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Childhood Obesity
4:43 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

CDC Report: Obesity Rates Down Slightly Among Low-Income Preschoolers In Missouri

Rates of change in childhood obesity (ages 2-4) from 2008 to 2011.
Credit U.S. CDC Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System, 2008-2011. *Represents statistically significant annual decrease or increase in obesity.

Updated at 5:30 p.m.  to adjust y-axis units on graph and to add second map.

It's not a big change, but it's at least in the right direction.

According to a new report released this week by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the prevalence of obesity among low-income preschoolers (ages 2-4) declined by at least one percentage point over the period from 2008 to 20011 in 18 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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Public Health
5:39 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

St. Louis County Officials Call For Stricter Regulation Of Ameren's Meramec Power Plant

Map showing the location of Ameren's Meramec Power Plant.
Credit (via Google Maps)

Updated at 3:45 p.m. on August 14, 2013 and at 11:10 a.m. on August 15, 2013 (to add comment from Ameren).

Another St. Louis County official is calling for tighter pollution controls at Ameren's Meramec power plant.

St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley today released a letter he sent to the Environmental Protection Agency, urging the agency to pursue sulfur dioxide controls at the Meramec plant.

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Industrial Pollution
5:14 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Public Meeting To Discuss Environmental Contamination In Sauget, Ill.

The Sauget, Ill. area.
(Missouri Department of Natural Resources)

State agencies from Illinois and Missouri are holding a public meeting Tuesday evening in Cahokia, Ill. to discuss plans to address environmental pollution in and around Sauget, Ill.

Tom Heavisides of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources says old landfills and industrial facilities in the Sauget area of St. Clair County have contaminated soil and water.

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