Natural Resources Defense Council

via NASA

A new report released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council warns that smoke from wildfires poses health risks to people living far from the actual blaze.

The study used data from 2011, an especially bad year for wildfires in the US, to rank states with the greatest number of residents affected by wildfire smoke for longer than a week.

Illinois and Missouri were ranked second and fourth respectively, despite having no wildfires of their own.

Reporting from Harvest Public Media’s Bill Wheelhouse.

Farmers across the country received more than $17 billion in federal crop insurance payouts after last year’s drought. A report released Tuesday by an environmental group blames farmers for not doing enough to shield the soil against the heat.

Véronique LaCapra / St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 6:30 p.m. to add information on mercury pollution.

A new report released today puts both Missouri and Illinois among the top 20 states with the most toxic air pollution from power plants.

The Natural Resources Defense Council report ranked Missouri 15th and Illinois 16th nationwide, based on 2010 data from the Environmental Protection Agency, the most recent data available.

(via NASA/Goddard SVS)

Updated 4:43 p.m. with comment from Glynnis Collins of the Prairie Rivers Network.

A coalition of environmental groups is taking legal action to push the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to limit nutrient pollution.