Brett Walton

Brett Walton writes about agriculture, energy, infrastructure, and the politics and economics of water in the United States. He also writes the Federal Water Tap, Circle of Blue’s weekly digest of U.S. government water news. He is the winner of two Society of Environmental Journalists reporting awards, one of the top honors in American environmental journalism: first place for explanatory reporting for a series on septic system pollution in the United States (2016) and third place for beat reporting in a small market (2014). Brett lives in Seattle, where he hikes the mountains and bakes pies. Contact Brett Walton

Sao Paulo

2017 Was Deadliest Year for Environmental Activists

Global Witness, an international human rights and natural resources group, tallied 207 killings of activists in 2017, the most since the group began compiling data in 2002. Killings occurred in 22 countries, primarily in Latin America.

September 5, 2018

Undermanned EPA Delays Action on Lead in Drinking Water

Even after the Flint scandal reawakened the nation to the dangers posed by lead drinking water pipes, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency appears to be in no rush to strengthen federal health standards. Years after Flint declared a state of emergency in December 2015, the agency is delaying publication of rules that could prevent lead poisoning.

August 24, 2017

Record Heat in 2016 Broke Lake Temperature Records Too

An annual analysis of the planet’s climate reaffirms what researchers knew was the case: that 2016 was the hottest year since at least 1880, when reliable global measurements were first kept. Record concentrations of heat-trapping gases and a strong El Nino raised the global average temperature to a new high, breaking a mark set just a year earlier.

August 15, 2017

California Hones Drinking Water Affordability Plan

Nearly five years ago, the California Legislature declared that the state’s residents have a right to “safe, clean, affordable, and accessible water.” Passage of the landmark law provoked a practical question that has always dogged the noble ideals of the right-to-water movement: how does a state government or municipal utility ensure clean and affordable water for all?

June 8, 2017


Philadelphia Water Rate Links Payments to Household Income

The financial struggle of the poorest Americans is a national concern as wages for those at the bottom fail to keep pace with the rising costs of living: food, housing, medicine, doctor’s visits, and even household water service.

May 23, 2017

Trump Proposal to Fix U.S. Water Infrastructure Invites Large Role for Private Investors

But P3s are not a cure all. Revenue expectations ought to be moderated by keeping an eye on the persistent decline in urban water demand. Writing a fair contract that ensures the right investments are made is not easy and borrowing costs are higher if using private capital…

March 23, 2017

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