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Researchers team up to solve a ‘50-year old murder mystery’: What’s killing sharks in the San Francisco Bay?

Spirits were low in McCovey Cove as the San Francisco Giants played a discouraging game against the Kansas City Royals. The visitors were on track to win, holding on to an 8-1 lead for several innings. The atmosphere was buoyed, however, when a cameraman spotted an unlikely supporter in the cove: a leopard shark swimming along the surface of the water. Giants player Jeff Samardzija’s nickname is “Shark,” and fans seemed to interpret the animal as a good omen. The…

Is Richmond ready for electric vehicles?

The underground parking is cool and dark, even on the sunniest day. Bulbs let off pale white light, and green exit signs emit a neon glow. Three electric chargers are located near the building entrance, surrounded by six electric cars. By the time Cesar Zepeda leaves his office in downtown Oakland, his white Ford Focus Electric is fully charged. The ring-shaped LED indicator of the charge port shines brightly. The screen reads “thank you” when he pulls the plug out…

Bay Area air-quality board approves aggressive, ‘unprecedented’ toxic-emissions regulations

The Bay Area air-quality board approved some of the most aggressive toxic-emissions regulations in California on Wednesday, a move one official described as “unprecedented.” The rule, passed by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), reigns in toxic emissions at facilities varying from oil refineries to mom-and-pop dry cleaners. The unanimous vote is considered a victory for local environmental groups and communities living in the shadow of the Bay Area’s worst polluters, such as Chevron in Richmond. The rule…

Amid ‘nightmare’ budget cuts, EPA closing its Richmond lab

With “nightmare” budget cuts on the legislative slate, the EPA is closing its Region 9 lab in Richmond, where scientists perform everything from monitoring drinking water to watching over some of the worst toxic waste sites on the West Coast. It will be consolidating some of the lab’s services and moving others out of California.

MAP: An overview of every toxic, contaminated site in Richmond

Over the decades, a sprawling network of shuttered chemical plants and oil refineries has left harmful pollutants in Richmond’s air, water, and soil. According to data collected by the California Department of Toxic Substance Control, the city is home to more than a hundred hazardous waste sites, including two highly contaminated, federally designated Superfund locations. Richmond Confidential’s “Toxics Map,” updated in the fall of 2017, details where the state is cleaning up and evaluating hazardous-waste sites, where cleanup is voluntary,…

Richmond Confidential reporter Reis Thebault wins Society of Professional Journalists award

The Northern California chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists awarded former Richmond Confidential reporter Reis Thebault the 2017 Excellence In Journalism Award. The accolade, announced this week, was for his investigations into the “fraud, corruption and legal woes” of the city’s medical marijuana industry. As a health, science and environmental reporter, Thebault’s stories focused on pay-to-play schemes, illicit messages sent by an Richmond Police Department officer, and hidden sales at marijuana dispensaries in the city. Thebault credits the help…

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