What Next

A Toxic Mess Reaches the Supreme Court

After a century of pollution, who decides how to clean up?


Episode Notes

Residents of Opportunity, Montana, have a problem: Their town is infected with a century’s worth of toxins from copper mining. The responsible company, Arco, and the Environmental Protection Agency have come up with a plan to fix that, but the community members say it’s woefully inadequate and doesn’t guarantee “a clean and healthful environment.” Now, the case has escalated all the way to the Supreme Court.

Guest: Kathleen McLaughlin, a reporter based in Montana

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Podcast production by Mary Wilson, Jayson De Leon, Danielle Hewitt, and Mara Silvers.


About the Show

The problem with the news right now? It’s everywhere. And each day, it can feel like we’re all just mindlessly scrolling. It’s why we created What Next. This short daily show is here to help you make sense of things. When the news feels overwhelming, we’re here to help you answer: What next? Look for new episodes every weekday morning.

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  • Mary Harris is the host and managing editor of What Next, Slate's new daily news podcast. She has reported throughout the public radio system, for NPR, Marketplace, and WNYC.