DC Worker's Comp + Trouble for Alaska's GOP Sen. Dan Sullivan
|Rachel Cohen||Oct 12, 2020|
It’s been a little while but sometimes with freelancing a bunch of different projects come out all in short order, and that’s looking increasingly likely for October. (So a few more to come, soon!)
Today in The Intercept I have a story on an environmental scandal unfolding for Alaska’s GOP Sen. Dan Sullivan — who is running for reelection in a competitive race against Al Gross. (Al Gross is an independent but running as a Democrat, and he’s considered key to helping tilt the Senate away from Republicans next year). The scandal centers around Pebble Mine, a highly controversial mining project that, if approved, could wreak devastation on the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery, among other things.
Most Alaskans oppose the project, but politicians have been quietly shepherding it through the permitting process, and its corporate backers have been hoping to get it green-lit by the end of the year. Leaked recordings published in September with the Pebble Mine executives reveal them talking with actors pretending to be investors about how Sullivan will stay quiet through the election, and offer criticisms of Pebble Mine without outright opposing it. You can read more about that here.
And last week in Washington City Paper I had feature story about some big disparities for injured public-sector workers in D.C. compared to those injured on the job in the private-sector. The decimation of worker’s comp isn’t only a local D.C story, and I talk about that, but the main focus is on what’s happened in my city and the politics around addressing some of those inequalities. Worker’s comp is generally an overlooked issue partly because there’s still a lot of unfortunate stigma around collecting the benefits (as opposed to other labor issues like misclassification and wage theft) and unions don’t often negotiate over it. But there’s a rare local hearing on it at the end of this week, and I’ll be covering that too.
To write this story I was fortunate to have the support of a new, exciting group called SpotlightDC, which is helping to fund local investigative reporting. They just launched this past summer, and I hope other cities copy the idea :-)