Our 5 most popular reads from 2022

A corpse, woodworking dangers, plastic titans ... revisit the stories that stuck with our readers this past year.

The totals are in — here are the five most viewed stories from our newsroom in 2022.


1. A corpse in a barrel in a drying reservoir

corpse in a barrel in a drying reservoir

Our weekend columnist Peter Dykstra is always on the lookout for the weird and wacky in the environmental realm.

With this column, he found it.

2. The hidden, potential cancer-causing, danger in woodworking and art supplies

BADGE BPA chemical

Reporter Meg Wilcox did a deep dive on a scary chemical that's common in woodworking and art supplies. Might want to check this one out before your next craft night.

3. The Titans of Plastic

petrochemical shell pennsylvania plastic

In collaboration with the excellent Sierra Magazine, reporter Kristina Marusic gives readers a clear-eyed look at the multi-faceted impacts of plastics production.

4. For clean beauty brands, getting PFAS out of makeup might be easier said than done

PFAS in makeup

We spent a good part of the beginning of 2022 examining PFAS chemicals in everyday products. This investigation into makeup caught the eye of readers.

5. Chemicals in everyday products are spurring obesity, warns a new review

chemicals obesity

Our weight depends on more than diet and exercise. Reporter Grace van Deelen reported on the latest research examining a concerning class of chemicals called "obesogens."


Supreme Court limits federal agencies' regulatory authority by overturning Chevron decision

The Supreme Court has overturned a 40-year-old precedent that allowed federal agencies broad regulatory powers, including on a range of environmental issues.

Melissa Quinn reports for CBS News.

In short:

  • The Supreme Court's conservative majority ruled to overturn the 1984 Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council decision.
  • The ruling limits federal agencies' power to interpret laws without explicit congressional authorization.
  • Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court that the decision would not apply retroactively to prior cases.
  • However, in their dissent, Justices Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Ketanji Brown Jackson warned of the consequences of increased judicial control over regulatory matters, and potential new challenges to longstanding agency interpretations.

Key quote:

"What actions can be taken to address climate change or other environmental challenges? What will the nation's health-care system look like in the coming decades? Or the financial or transportation systems? What rules are going to constrain the development of A.I.? In every sphere of current or future federal regulation, expect courts from now on to play a commanding role."

- Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan

Why this matters:

This decision could significantly impact the ability of federal agencies to regulate critical areas such as the environment, health care and workplace safety. The shift in judicial power may lead to more legal challenges and uncertainty in regulatory processes. Here's a look at some other consequential rulings the Supreme Court has made in the past year on environmental issues.

Senator Whitehouse & climate change

Senator Whitehouse puts climate change on budget committee’s agenda

For more than a decade, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse gave daily warnings about the mounting threat of climate change. Now he has a powerful new perch.
Amid LNG’s Gulf Coast expansion, community hopes to stand in its way
Coast Guard inspects Cameron LNG Facility in preparation for first LNG export in 2019. (Credit: Coast Guard News)

Amid LNG’s Gulf Coast expansion, community hopes to stand in its way

This 2-part series was co-produced by Environmental Health News and the journalism non-profit Economic Hardship Reporting Project. See part 1 here.Este ensayo también está disponible en español
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US Steel pollution
Credit: Kristina Marusic for EHN

Nippon Steel shareholders demand environmental accountability in light of pending U.S. Steel acquisition

During a shareholders meeting in Tokyo last Friday, a group of investors in Nippon Steel asked the company to improve its decarbonization strategy and reduce harmful emissions in light of its pending acquisition of U.S. Steel.

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2024 presidential debate climate
Credit: Christopher Michel/Flickr

Climate change gets short shrift in presidential debate

In a CNN-hosted debate, climate change was mentioned briefly, with Biden highlighting the Inflation Reduction Act and Trump offering an incoherent response.

Joseph Winters reports for Grist.

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Trump may repeal Biden's climate law, risking billions in US investments

Former President Donald Trump criticizes President Biden's renewable energy policies, which experts say could inadvertently benefit China by jeopardizing $488 billion in U.S. manufacturing investments.

Lisa Friedman reports for The New York Times.

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Court delays Biden administration's cross-state air pollution plan

The Supreme Court has temporarily halted the EPA's plan to reduce air pollution across state lines, hindering Biden's environmental agenda.

Adam Liptak reports for The New York Times.

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Supreme Court to rule on key environmental cases

The Supreme Court will soon decide on cases that could significantly impact environmental regulations and agency powers.

Pamela King reports for E&E News.

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From our Newsroom
Another chemical recycling plant closure offers ‘flashing red light’ to nascent industry

Another chemical recycling plant closure offers ‘flashing red light’ to nascent industry

Fulcrum BioFuels’ shuttered “sustainable aviation fuel” plant is the latest facility to run into technical and financial challenges.

nurses climate change

Op-ed: In a warming world, nurses heal people and the planet

Nurses have the experience, motivation and public support to make an important contribution in tackling the climate crises.

planetary health diet

This diet will likely keep you alive longer — and help the planet

New research finds the Planetary Health Diet lowers our risk to most major causes of death.

environmental justice

LISTEN: Jose Ramon Becerra Vera on democratizing science

“In their own way, they’re becoming experts, not just of their experiences but also of the data collection process.”

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