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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Bridgeton Landfill
6:26 pm
Fri September 20, 2013

Republic Services To Build Firebreak Between Radioactive Waste And Smoldering Bridgeton Landfill

Republic Services says it will extend this plastic cap over the entire landfill. The company also plans to build a firebreak between the radioactive waste at the West Lake Landfill and the underground fire at Bridgeton.
Credit Missouri Department of Natural Resources

The company that owns the Bridgeton Landfill has changed its plans for keeping an underground fire at the site from spreading to nearby radioactive waste.

Republic Services says it will now move forward with building a firebreak between the Bridgeton and West Lake landfills.

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Affordable Care Act
7:08 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

Top U.S. Health Official Says Insurance Marketplace Will Help Many ― But Not All

U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius speaks to reporters at St. Louis City Hall, while St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, St. Louis City Health Director Pam Walker, and St. Louis County Health Director Delores Gunn look on (left to right).
Credit Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was in St. Louis on Thursday to talk about the Affordable Care Act.

Sebelius met with city and county officials and representatives of the local healthcare community in a closed-door session at St. Louis City Hall.

Speaking at a press conference after the meeting, Sebelius said as of October 1, Missourians will be able to purchase health insurance through a new online marketplace.

Sebelius said many of Missouri's 800,000 uninsured will be able to get coverage.

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Pesticides
3:41 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

Missouri Department Of Agriculture Warns Of Pesticide Telemarketing Scam

Flickr/Nate Steiner

The Missouri Department of Agriculture is warning consumers about a pesticide telemarketing scam.

Farmers, gardeners and others have received phone calls from salespeople claiming to offer high quality herbicides at below market prices.

The products have turned out not to be properly registered or labeled.

An agriculture department spokesperson declined to say what exactly was in the purchased products, what company ― or companies ― are involved in the scam, or whether the fraud extends to other states.

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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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