Tom Arrandale is a GOVERNING correspondent. He writes the Sustainability newsletter, which features the latest news on the people, policies and programs that are helping to create a new generation of sustainable, smart, more livable communities. Tom Arrandale is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the University of Missouri School of Journalism. A native of upstate New York, he lived in Albuquerque, N.M., for 25 years and is now based in Livingston, Mont. He reports on environmental issues, including whether expanding cities and declining rural communities can prosper continuously while adapting to the natural capacity of their air, water and landscapes.

Tom Arrandale
November 1, 2014

A Big Bear in the Big City

As bears, cougars and other predatory animals range closer to cities, wildlife agencies are rethinking how best to keep both people and animals safe.
July 1, 2014

Drought-Plagued Regions Struggle to Conserve Water and Make Money

The more water people save, the more money utilities lose. They're looking far afield for a solution.
October 22, 2012

Turning Forests into Carbon Banks

More and more cities are using forests to absorb carbon dioxide and offset greenhouse gas emissions.
September 24, 2012

It's a Critical Time for the Clean Water Act

As the federal law approaches its 40th anniversary, there is still a lot of debate over what bodies of water the act protects.
August 27, 2012

Droughts, Lawns and Our Water Supply

Xeriscaping and other outdoor water conservation efforts are starting to spread to unlikely regions.
July 23, 2012

Wildfires Threaten Water Supplies

More than 60 million people get their water from national forests. But ash and debris from big fires can make the water undrinkable.
June 25, 2012

Recycling's Silver Lining

It is always at the mercy of budget cuts in tight fiscal times, but new green industries might make recycling too valuable to cut.
May 29, 2012

Striving to Relocalize Food Production

To keep Americans eating healthful, fresh-off-the-farm food, states and localities are establishing regional food policies.
April 20, 2012

The Price of Greening Stormwater

Philadelphia officials hope the city’s redesigned stormwater fees will lead to imaginative private financing that will help rehabilitate watersheds.
March 26, 2012

Greening Government's Fleet of Big Trucks

Street sweepers, snow plows and fire trucks will soon be cleaner and more fuel efficient under new emissions standards.
June 1, 2010

Coal Calculations

The West braces for an energy boom that could just as easily go bust.
June 30, 2009

Get Smart

Mention smart-grid technology to Frederick Butler, a utility regulator in New Jersey, and he'll immediately remind you of two recent crises. The first is the...
March 31, 2009

Electric Aloha

Hawaii's island geography makes it almost impossible to go for a long drive. If a road doesn't dead-end at a beach, then it keeps bending...

Keep It Green

As the stimulus bill takes shape, states need to pay attention to the impact of new projects on wildlife, wetlands and water.

Banking on the Wind

Even in states that produce fossil fuels, Americans are figuring that prosperity will be tied to finding greener energy resources.

The Surge for Ethanol

Few of us foresaw that the drive for clean-burning fuel alternatives could create serious environmental problems.
August 31, 2008

Carbon Goes to Market

Late this month, 10 Northeastern states will conclude an auction like no other in American history. What's up for grabs is not art or property. It's...
August 31, 2008

Cap Trap

The carbon cap-and-trade system about to launch in the Northeast is not the first of its kind. Emissions trading has been going on in Europe...
August 31, 2008

Taxing Times

Developing a cap-and-trade system is one way to put a price on carbon. But there's another, more straightforward approach: taxing it. Of course, using the...

Runoff Politics

States are under court order to limit the amount of pollutants that can flow into their waters -- and help the polluters comply.

The Junkyard Crew

State and local governments are struggling to keep up with a high-tech economy's surge of e-waste.
April 30, 2008

Flushing Away Fears

Clearly, residents of San Diego would rather not drink their own wastewater. The first time the idea of it came up, about a decade ago,...

Aloha to All That

It may be a sign of the times that a state is so open about giving a single business a pass on an impact review.

The Footprint Factor

Cities of all sizes are banding together to reduce their own -- and eventually the world's -- carbon emissions.
November 30, 2007

Power Puffs

From my neighborhood in Livingston, Montana, you can watch three wind turbines spin with the gales that rush down from the Rocky Mountains. The towers...
September 30, 2007

Invasion of the Aliens

Sixty years ago, anglers on upstate New York lakes began landing some gruesome catches. The prized lake trout they'd haul into their boats carried raw...
August 31, 2007

Confluence of Interest

Back in the summer of 1966, a rock group named the The Standells enjoyed their only major hit, "Dirty Water." The words were inspired by Massachusetts'...
July 31, 2007

Wildfire Fight

Most dry summer months, somewhere in the country, a wildfire flares into a fearsome sight that fills the sky with harrowing flames and forbidding columns...
July 1, 2007

The Reactor Factor

The nation needs to invest in sources for electricity that won't emit greenhouse gases. Nuclear power could be the best, safest solution.
May 31, 2007

The Salty Solution

It's tough to imagine that steamy Florida may be running out of water. Yet state and local water managers this spring barred homeowners from sprinkling...
April 1, 2007

Hydro Defense

Despite spending millions on security upgrades, drinking-water systems are still vulnerable to sabotage.
March 31, 2007

Oceans Ominous

Most days after work, I walk my old dog on the banks of the Yellowstone River. The Yellowstone's still running cold and swift, maybe 40 yards...
January 31, 2007

A Bolder Boulder

The Colorado city's citizens are going along with a "carbon tax" to control greenhouse gases that affect the climate. No doubt the new U.S....
December 1, 2006

Science, Interrupted

EPA funding for research is shrinking, and findings are being denigrated.
October 1, 2006

Keeping the Wild in the West

Cattle ranchers may have to think the unthinkable--zoning open space to keep developers from eating it all up.
September 1, 2006

Prozac in the Water

Sophisticated new tests reveal small amounts of steroids and other drugs in drinking water. How big a threat are these contaminants?
June 1, 2006

Capping a Hot Spot

Mercury released by coal-fired power plants is toxic, and some state lawmakers don't see emissions trading as the way to deal with it.
April 1, 2006

Crypto Crackdown

New federal rules are forcing utilities to significantly upgrade how they treat drinking water supplies.
April 1, 2006

Tigers no More

State EPAs are suffering from federal budget cuts, but that may not be their worst problem.
February 1, 2006

Wetland Wars

Millions of acres of remote bogs, fens and swamps could lose their federal protection.
December 1, 2005

Defending Against A Deluge

The disaster in New Orleans has prompted a nationwide examination of man-made levees, as well as interest in restoring natural floodplains.
December 1, 2005

Transmission Blues

In energy-rich states, the federal government's response to the energy crunch is looking more than a little ominous.
October 1, 2005

The Used-Food Market

With oil prices jumping, local governments may want to take another look at turning into energy material their garbage trucks pick up every day.
August 1, 2005

Gone Fishing

EPAs aren't keeping up with other agencies in using high-tech tools to detect dangers and deter misconduct.
June 1, 2005

Keeping the Outdoors Open

The opportunities for Americans to explore those places in the natural world that molded their country may be dwindling.
April 1, 2005

Tap Dance

Tricky balancing can be required to remove lead from drinking water while also meeting other water-quality mandates.
April 1, 2005

Diesel in Distress

The workhorses of our economic life are churning out an exhaust that sickens and kills people.
February 1, 2005

A Pox on Both Houses

When it comes to the acrimonious debate over threats to the environment, neither side has anything to be proud of right now.
December 1, 2004

On the Wild Side

Local officials who govern the counties will determine whether their rich biological legacies will be squandered.
December 1, 2004

Beyond the Basin

Many states are revisiting their laws that govern how water is allocated.
November 1, 2004

Predator Politics

Wolves are back in Montana, and many of the citizens are upset about it. Carolyn Sime has the task of calming people down.Carolyn Sime had a stress-free job in the Montana backcountry that any lover of the outdoors would envy.
October 1, 2004

Kids at Risk

Contaminants dangerous to children may be falling through the cracks of pollution-control and public health regulations.
September 1, 2004

The Pit and the Pentium

As concern grows about keeping obsolete computers and TVs out of landfills, two distinct models are emerging for how states can deal with electronic waste.
August 1, 2004

'I Think That I Shall Never See...'

An active campaign to maintain urban forests and replenish tree canopies can repay a city in more ways than one.
June 1, 2004

Mercury Madness

States' efforts to crack down on the toxic metals that industry spews into the air and water are being sabotaged.
April 1, 2004

Setting Up a Box Score

Regulators depend on inspectors' hunches, citizens' complaints or luck to find festering pollution problems.
April 1, 2004

Trading For Clean Water

States and localities are intrigued by proposals to create market mechanisms for solving intractable water-pollution problems.
February 1, 2004

Spitzer Attack

Attorneys general are taking the lead in trying to force a crackdown on power plants that pollute across state lines.
December 1, 2003

A Growth Industry

The volume of trash is escalating as consumers buy more and more food and drinks in throwaway containers.
December 1, 2003

Making The Most of A Rainy Day

Localities are learning to capitalize on nature's own plumbing system.
October 1, 2003

EPA In The Balance

Many Western governors, Utah's Leavitt among them, want to meet national EPA standards by using local approaches.
August 1, 2003

Calculating Cleanliness

An EPA draft reportprovides a roadmap for compiling data and mapping trends to pinpoint environmental threats.
June 1, 2003

Roadkill Rage

If highways can imperil grizzlies in remote areas, they're even more of a menace to wildlife in settled regions.
June 1, 2003

Foreign Faucet

Cities that tap private companies to run water systems often are hiring overseas firms. Some find that hard to swallow.
April 1, 2003

A Burnt-Out Case

It's time to get beyond past recycling and incinerator mistakes and find new ways to deal with garbage
February 1, 2003

Triggering A Backlash

State officials run political risks if they break 30-year-old promises to prevent severe ecological damage.
January 1, 2003

Atlanta To Spend Billions To Clean Water

Thirty years ago, Atlanta was one of the first cities the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency took to court to clean up its municipal sewage discharges.
December 1, 2002

'Our Drinking Water Will Come From...Where?'

Bottled water isn't the answer for everyone. Fast-growing localities are tapping everything from seawater to wastewater.
November 1, 2002

Trouble in the Wind

When windmills are sited near scenic spots, environmental groups say that's too high a price to pay for green power.
September 1, 2002

Stirring Up the Headwaters

Keeping urban water supplies clean depends on preventing contaminated runoff in the rural foothills where rivers originate.
August 1, 2002

The Pollution Puzzle

The federal government isn't solving it. States are giving it a shot.
August 1, 2002

Cities Take the Sewer Plunge

When it comes to wastewater, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency isn't hesitating to tell local governments what they have to do.
July 1, 2002

Game Theory

Wildlife managers are finding that relying on hunting and fishing licenses for funding can turn into a straitjacket.
May 1, 2002

EPA, The Arsenic Dictator

Like many other cities and towns, Albuquerque may have to spend millions to remove arsenic from its water supply.
March 1, 2002

Seizing on Superfund

Communities with big, badly contaminated sites may have no choice but to hope the federal government rides to their rescue.
January 1, 2002

Talking Trash

The rapid expansion of municipally run recycling programs hasn't been all that economically or environmentally beneficial.
December 1, 2001

Clean Power Gets a Burst of Energy

Electricity deregulation is paying unexpected environmental dividends. In several states, it is opening up markets for clean power generated by renewable resources.
December 1, 2001

Working on Watersheds

Cleaning up rural riverbeds that feed water to cities makes fiscal and political sense.
November 1, 2001

Paper Trades and Real Emissions

Are market-driven approaches a regulatory charade that lets factories profit from polluting their neighborhoods?
November 1, 2001

C. Stephen Allred: Fairness Under Pressure

Bringing both sides to the table
October 1, 2001

The Diesel Dilemma

The pollution-belching engines that power government buses and trucks have to go. What will replace them?
September 1, 2001

The Ruckus Over Racket

It is overstating the case to cast aggravating nuisances such as grating noise and glaring lights as another form of `pollution.'
August 1, 2001

Focus on Wastewater: the Hazard of Ooze

Seepage from outmoded septic tanks is a major threat to groundwater. And it's not just a rural phenomenon.
July 1, 2001

Taking Green for Granted

A few states are finally concluding that they can profit by preserving the diverse biological life of their landscapes.
June 1, 2001

Tilting Toward Windmills

Of all the renewable-energy sources, wind is emerging as the most competitive alternative for expanding the nation's power-generating capacity.
May 1, 2001

Ganging up on Gases

A multi-pollutant regulatory strategy just might reach the elusive objective of protecting the environment efficiently.
April 1, 2001

Hot Stuff on Ice

For decades, states have been wrangling over disposal sites for radioactive waste. The latest proposals are generating as much controversy as ever.
April 1, 2001

Checking Out a School's Bad Air Days

A small town in Idaho will test the air with a sophisticated computer model to find out whether students and teachers at an elementary school are getting sick from pesticides.
March 1, 2001

Getting Religion on Radon

Governments have to persevere to persuade citizens like me to check our homes for this naturally occuring, radioactive gas.
January 1, 2001

Truck Stoppers

A 14-state pact aims to enforce stringent new diesel standards to keep dirty-running vehicles off U.S. highways.
January 1, 2001

Balking on Air

The momentum states had generated in recent years to deal cooperatively with cross-boundary pollution has given way to dissension and lawsuits.
December 1, 2000

Guide to Clean Water: Keeping it Fit to Sip

The new rules on safe drinking water are both better and worse for states and localities.
November 1, 2000

Putting Land in Trust

Nonprofit land trusts are working closely with city and county agencies to protect lands that communities want preserved.
October 1, 2000

Four States Agree on the Basics of a Save-the-Salmon Strategy

Pacific Northwest governors have agreed on recommendations for how federal and state agencies should work together to restore Columbia River salmon populations.
October 1, 2000

Recycling's Reality Check

While their public popularity is unabated, recycling programs are encountering some real-world problems and limits.
September 1, 2000

Dredging Up Old Problems

Once pollutants settle into river or lake beds, governments confront tricky political and economic challenges to remove them.
August 1, 2000

Not Wet Enough

Even in the most unlikely places, local governments are grappling with demands for water that exceed existing supplies. And conservation isn't turning out to be easy or cheap.
July 1, 2000

Smart Air

EPA is delivering cities and their fast-growing suburbs intimidating lessons on the consequences of sprawling development.
June 1, 2000

Whistleblowers Anonymous

The tactics of a national group representing dissident environmental employees are alarming many pollution-control chiefs.
June 1, 2000

Trading Off Summer Smog

Northeastern states are off to a promising start with an emissions- trading program they've jointly designed to curb summertime smog pollution. Things are still up in the air, however, on whether they'll persuade upwind neighbors in the Midwest to join them in the effort.
May 1, 2000

Saving the Salmon

State, city and county governments must mature into equal partners to balance economic and ecological consequences.
March 1, 2000

Childproof Regulations

Several state agencies are following the federal EPA's lead in focusing directly on how pollutants affect youngsters.
February 1, 2000

Scrubbing Costs from Cleanups

Environmental regulators in a handful of states are trying a new approach to get the mess from leaking underground storage tanks cleaned up in about half the usual time and for roughly half the price.
January 1, 2000

The Livestock Time Bomb

Rural residents in several states are rebelling against large dairies, swine farms, poultry operations and egg producers for creating environmental threats.