Weekend Reader: Award winners, Southern delusions & top news.

SEJ recognizes the year's best in environmental journalism; a few observations from our Weekend Editor on the Solid (and Trumpian) South; and more

The Society of Environmental Journalists annual awards shows the strength and depth of environmental journalism; talk of a Democratic overthrow in the midterm elections is hard to find in the American South.


Forget about that Southern Blue Wave

In the off-year 2017 elections, Doug Jones was just the Dreamland candidate for Southern Democrats' comeback.

Relatively telegenic and a civil rights prosecutor, Jones faced the best odds an Alabama Democrat had in years: His Republican opponent, Roy Moore, had twice been bounced from the Alabama Supreme Court for ignoring Constitutional mandates. And Moore was buried in a dozen complaints that he trolled, stalked, or groped young women decades earlier.

Although Moore denied all accusations, his campaign wallowed in an epic pit of creepiness.

The relatively unassailable Jones managed a 1.7 percent victory for a partial-term Senate seat he'll be hard-pressed to keep in 2020.

One-point-seven percent, over a guy dragging credible child molestation charges to the polls.

Read the full story here.

The best environmental journalism

For almost two decades, the Society of Environmental Journalists has been recognizing the best environmental journalism published in the United States. They announced winners this week for this year's journalism awards. Some of the strong contenders showed both the vibrancy and urgency of environmental reporting.

Among the winners:

"Bombs in Our Backyard" by Abrahm Lustgarten, Lena Groeger, Ryann Grochowski Jones, Sisi Wei, Ashley Gilbertson, Ranjani Chakraborty and Lucas Waldron for ProPublica.

"Toxic Secrets: Pollution, Evasion and Fear in North Jersey" by James M. O'Neill, Scott Fallon, Chris Pedota, Daniel Sforza, Michael Pettigano and Susan Lupow for The Record (Bergen County, NJ) and NorthJersey.com.

"Marshall Islands Project" by Kim Wall, Coleen Jose, Jan Hendrik Hinzel, Brittany Levine, Andrew Freedman and Alex Hazlett for Mashable.

Links and the full list of winners and runners-up are here.

Top weekend news & opinions

Payback? A major past donor to Jeff Sessions's campaigns gets some alleged payback in a dispute with EPA.

From theory to in-your-face: Climate scientist Michael Mann says climate impacts are no longer subtle, they're in our faces. From WBUR's Here & Now.

Two from Alaska on oil damage: From Inside Climate News: Surrounded by oil fields,an Alaskan village fears for its health.

And from the NYT's Henry Fountain: How new oil projects cut scars across Alaskan wilderness.

Shocker! Green energy passes its first trillion-watt milestone as prices drop. (Bloomberg)

Stellar long-read from The Guardian and Keith Kahn-Harris on Denialism: What drives people to reject the truth.

From Wash Post's Capital Weather Gang: California's Carr Fire became one one the biggest fire tornadoes ever measured.

Essay from NPR's Scott Simon: Calling the press the "enemy of the people" is a menacing move.

Climate Denial's evil twin: Climate denial isn't the only anti-science push that won't die: In this NYT op-ed, Melinda Winner Moyer says anti-vaxxers still have an impact on vaccine science.

Grist offers a level-headed assessment of the NYT Sunday Magazine's controversial "autopsy" on how the climate movement blew it in the 1980's.

www.theguardian.com

'This is a wake-up call': How will pro cycling address its own climate crisis?

Cycling may have strong green credentials but at elite level the sport's relationship with the environment is vexed.

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www.wesa.fm

EPA expected to undo methane leak rule for oil, gas industry

President Donald Trump's administration is expected to formalize the changes Thursday in the heart of the nation's most prolific natural gas reservoir and in the premier presidential battleground state of Pennsylvania.

www.nbc12.com

With coal in crisis, will Virginia be saddled with millions in mine cleanup costs?

As the COVID-19 pandemic accelerates King Coal’s decline, Virginia could be on the hook for millions in cleanup costs if an anticipated wave of bankruptcies destabilizes its bond pool system for managing the risks of company failures.
stateimpact.npr.org

A new advisory panel on climate change starts work at DRBC

As Tropical Storm Isaias swept through last week, the Delaware River Basin Commission's newest committee was convening for the very first time. Its aim: to help inform water resource planning efforts regarding climate change.

stateimpact.npr.org

Paddle protest at Marsh Creek Lake calls for Mariner East shutdown

As cleanup crews worked to remove thousands of gallons of drilling mud from a Chester County lake on Wednesday, residents gathered to protest the Mariner East pipeline project, citing a litany of environmental damage.

edition.cnn.com

Wildfires have destroyed more than 60,000 acres across three states and are spreading rapidly

Firefighters across three states are battling wildfires that have destroyed more than 60,000 acres in the US West.

Beer unsold during Australia's COVID-19 lockdown has been turned into renewable energy

Instead of going to waste, some expired ales and lagers in the state of South Australia have been serving a new purpose: powering a water treatment plant.