Alex Brown, Stateline

Alex Brown, Stateline

Based in Seattle, Alex Brown covers environmental issues for Stateline. Prior to joining Stateline, Brown wrote for The Chronicle in Lewis County, Washington state.

Western states look to these lands for new affordable housing

By: - October 27, 2023

In Colorado’s Eagle County, affordable housing is so scarce that school district leaders have pleaded with locals to open their spare bedrooms to teachers — citing the impossibility of hiring when employees have nowhere to live. Home to popular ski resorts in Vail and Avon, the county has seen much of its housing snatched up […]

Native lands lack clean water protections, but more tribes are taking charge

By: - October 18, 2023

Across the roughly 1,300 square miles of the White Earth Indian Reservation in northwest Minnesota, tribal members harvest wild rice in waters that have sustained them for generations. They’ve been working for decades to restore sturgeon, a culturally important fish, and they harvest minnows and leeches to supply bait for anglers across the country. But […]

It may have just gotten harder to protect minority communities from pollution

By: - August 30, 2023

In recent years, some states have invested in air quality monitoring, applied extra scrutiny to permitting decisions and steered cleanup funding to minority communities that have borne the brunt of pollution for decades. Now, in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision striking down race-conscious college admissions policies, state lawmakers are facing a […]

Towns could save themselves from wildfire — if they knew about this money

By: - August 22, 2023

PACKWOOD, Wash. — Last year, Don Pratt fled from his home as a wildfire swept down the mountainside here in Washington’s Cascade Range. “Heading out, I thought it was the last time I was going to see the house,” he said. As residents evacuated and smoke engulfed the small mountain community, fire crews with bulldozers […]

White-throated swifts carry insects to feed their young, nestled against the bottom of bridges along the Rio Grande.

Political appointees set state wildlife policy. Critics say that’s a problem.

By: - June 9, 2023

Hunters, tree-huggers and bird-watchers alike think New Mexico’s wildlife management system is broken. This year, they united behind a bill to restructure the state’s Game Commission, which oversees hunting, fishing and other wildlife policies. Over the past several years, the commission has seen numerous appointees submit their resignations or get forced out by Gov. Michelle […]

Peter Peterson (left) master sawyer with Urban Hardwoods, inspects a cut of an elm tree as operations manager Dave Hunzicker looks on.

Felled city trees could grow a new lumber economy

By: - December 26, 2022

SEATTLE — When a tree falls in the city, does it make a table? Or a guitar or a cabinet? It’s a question that’s increasingly being asked by state and city leaders, arborists, tree care companies and woodworkers. A growing coalition aims to turn urban wood into a valuable resource, rather than a waste product […]

Supreme Court admissions case could upend environmental justice laws

By: - December 12, 2022

In recent years, more states have crafted environmental justice policies to help communities of color plagued by polluted air and water, poor health outcomes and limited access to green space. But now they fear that work could be upended by a pair of pending U.S. Supreme Court cases examining affirmative action admissions policies at universities. If the court […]

States take on PFAS ‘forever chemicals’ with bans, lawsuits

By: - October 4, 2022

“Forever chemicals” are everywhere. The thousands of chemicals in the group known as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, are found in cookware, packaging, cosmetics, clothing, carpet, electronics, firefighting foam and many other products. The chemicals, which do not naturally break down, are so widespread that they’re found in the blood of 97% of Americans. […]

Some cities and states say big oil should pay for climate damage

By: - April 14, 2022

In the waning days of 2021, a grass fire broke out in Boulder County, Colorado. Fueled by extreme drought and high winds, the fire swept through the communities of Superior and Louisville. Within hours, it had destroyed more than a thousand structures—making the Marshall Fire the most destructive in the state’s history. The December fire […]

Booster mandates are a tough call for states, businesses

By: and - December 28, 2021

Earlier this month, New Mexico became the first state to require COVID-19 boosters for its state employees, health care workers and educators. Officials there cite recent state research showing that immunity from the first series of shots wanes over time, which corresponds with other studies from around the world. “The evidence is incontrovertible,” said acting […]