Molly Samuel | WABE 90.1 FM

Molly Samuel


Molly Samuel joined WABE as a reporter in November 2014. Before coming on board, she was a science producer and reporter at KQED in San Francisco, where she won awards for her reporting on hydropower and on crude oil.

Molly was a fellow with the Middlebury Fellowships in Environmental Journalism and a journalist-in-residence at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center.

She’s from Atlanta, has a degree in Ancient Greek from Oberlin College and is a co-founder of the record label True Panther Sounds.

Conceptual rendering by HDR, Inc. courtesy of The Trust for Public Land

Atlanta broke ground Friday on a big new park, just west of downtown. Cook Park, in Vine City, will have statues honoring Civil Rights leaders. It’s also being built to alleviate flooding on the Westside.

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Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said the park will be a new Atlanta landmark.

Alison Guillory / WABE

Friday afternoon, there's a groundbreaking for a new park on Atlanta’s Westside. Cook Park will honor civil rights leaders. It will also help with long-term flooding and pollution in the area.

John Bazemore, File / Associated Press

Friday is a key deadline for Georgia Power. The company worked out a deal to keep construction going on its two new nuclear power units at Plant Vogtle near Augusta. That's as Westinghouse, which is the lead contractor, has begun bankruptcy proceedings. That deal was extended at the end of April, and now expires Friday night.

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Alex Sanz / Associated Press

Former President Jimmy Carter says he's in good health -- and writing a new book. On Tuesday, he told participants at a conference on human rights that he plans to include their work and thoughts in the book.

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“I'm not going to concentrate on hope,” he said. “I'm certainly not going to concentrate on despair. I'm not going to concentrate on anything except, I'm going to use the word, faith.”

Mary Claire Kelly / WABE

The debate is back about offshore oil exploration and drilling in the Atlantic Ocean, including the Georgia coastal area. President Donald Trump signed an executive order Friday directing the Department of the Interior to look at opening up more areas to offshore drilling.

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Karen Clarke / Trust for Public Land

The Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area has expanded by bits and pieces since it was created in the 1970s. The park's property adds up to about 7,000 acres in patches along nearly 50 miles of the Chattahoochee River, from Lake Lanier down to the city of Atlanta.

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Courtesy of AMB Group

Once Mercedes-Benz Stadium is finished, the Georgia Dome will be torn down and will be replaced by a park. The 13-acre space will be for tailgating on game days and open to the public when the new stadium is not in use.

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Steven Senne / Associated Press

March for Science organizers in Atlanta are preparing for thousands of people to turn out this Saturday in a movement that’s coalesced since President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

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The main march is in Washington, D.C., but like the Women’s March in January, satellite events are happening all over the country. Here, people are gathering in Candler Park to hear speakers, to march, and to express their support for what they say should be a non-partisan issue: science.

Courtesy of Tybee Island Police Department

The sea level is already rising on American coasts. In Georgia, the sea level has gone up more than nine inches in the last 75 years. Globally, it could go up another one to four feet in the next 75 years.

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Some places and people will be able to adapt to rising tides. But a lot of people in the United States will have to move, and many could end up in Atlanta, according to a new study.

Tasnim Shamma / WABE File

The Atlanta Braves play their first regular season game in their new home at SunTrust Park on Friday. Meanwhile, a group of protesters has taken up residence in tents outside the Braves' old home at Turner Field.

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Ali Guillory / WABE

Residents of the brand new city of South Fulton are choosing their first mayor and City Council.

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Early voting in the runoff election is this week, and election day is Tuesday.

Molly Samuel / WABE

The amount of water flowing down the Chattahoochee River from Georgia into Florida is being reduced. Though it’s been a very rainy week here, the drought is still dragging on, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is beginning drought operations on the river basin.

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Molly Samuel / WABE

A controversial plan to bring tens of thousands of tons of coal ash to a landfill in South Georgia is off the table.

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Alison Guillory / WABE

Atlanta's sewer system has been under federal oversight for nearly 20 years. Now, an independent office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is looking at how well Atlanta has complied with its agreements to clean up water pollution and how well the EPA has overseen it.

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U.S. Congressman John Lewis wrote to the EPA Office of Inspector General asking for a review earlier this year.

Alison Guillory / WABE

A court date is scheduled in the fight over the future of an Atlanta site where convicts were forced to work in terrible conditions.

Alison Guillory / WABE

With Interstate 85 out of commission, MARTA's preparing for more riders, including many who may be taking transit to work for the first time.

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To help out, volunteers will be at stations Monday and Tuesday morning, answering questions. They’re with the group MARTA Army, which is like a "friends of MARTA" association.

David Goldman / associated press file

Georgia Power is reviewing how much it will cost to finish building two new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle. It's also looking at what it would cost not to complete the project, or to go in a different direction, like converting to natural gas.

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That's after the main contractor, Westinghouse, filed for bankruptcy protection Wednesday, thanks to cost overruns at Vogtle and at another nuclear project in South Carolina.

Mary Ann Chastain, File / Associated Press

Japan's embattled Toshiba Corp. said Wednesday that its U.S. nuclear unit Westinghouse Electric Co. has filed for bankruptcy protection, marking a key step in its struggles to stop the flow of massive red ink.

Toshiba said in a statement that it filed the Chapter 11 petition in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of New York. The move had been largely expected.

Solar Panels as seen from Decatur Ave.
Alison Guillory / WABE

Metro Atlanta officials say they’ll continue work on climate change initiatives, regardless of what the federal government does.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order aimed at dismantling the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era climate change law.

“Now more than ever I think it's important that cities are leaders on climate change and climate action,” said City of Atlanta Chief Resilience Officer Stephanie Stuckey.

John Bazemore / Associated Press

The company that's building two new nuclear reactors in Georgia is reportedly heading for bankruptcy. And that could mean trouble for Georgia Power, whose new units at Plant Vogtle are already behind schedule and over budget.

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Westinghouse, the contractor building the two new nuclear units, could file for bankruptcy as early as next week. The units at Plant Vogtle, near Augusta, and others in South Carolina are the first new nuclear reactors being built in the United States in decades.

Ali Guillory / WABE

A new initiative by the Atlanta Audubon Society is trying to save birds by asking people to turn off their lights at night.

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Hundreds of millions – maybe even a billion -- birds die each year when they get confused by lights and crash into buildings, according to the Audubon Society.

Molly Samuel / WABE

In many Georgia counties, the drought is clearing up. The state recently relaxed water use restrictions in dozens of counties. But not in metro Atlanta, most of which remains in a "Level 2" drought response. In places that rely on Lake Lanier for water – that includes most of the metro area – the drought drags on.  

E.J. Keller / Wikimedia

Neuroscientist Gregory Berns has a closet full of brains in his lab at Emory University.

There are brains from a few species of dolphins. There are coyote brains and a Tasmanian devil brain, which Berns said is sort of the jewel of the collection -- it's the only one in North America, as far as he knows.

He pulls one in a plastic container down off the shelf. 

“This is the brain of a German shepherd who I knew, who was owned by a friend of mine.” He said it's a little sad working with that brain, since he knew the animal.

Courtesy of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management

The Georgia Senate honored Killer Mike on Friday morning. And the Atlanta rapper, businessman and political activist took the opportunity to speak not just about his involvement with Atlanta’s water infrastructure, which was the reason for the honor, but also about education, equity and opportunity in Georgia.

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Plant Scherer in operation at Juliette, Ga.
Gene Blythe / Associated Press

President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order this week that would begin dismantling one of the Obama administration’s key climate change rules.  

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Danny Johnston / AP File

The poultry industry in Georgia is on alert after avian influenza hit a facility in Tennessee

“When there is a discovery of avian influenza anywhere in the United States, and especially in a neighboring state, it causes the poultry industry to go on higher alert and make sure that biosecurity practices are tightened,” Georgia Poultry Federation president Mike Giles said.

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David Goldman / Associated Press

Georgia is loosening water use restrictions in more than 80 counties as the drought has eased, but not for most metro Atlanta counties.

The drought has improved in much of Georgia over the past couple months, but it's still affecting Lake Lanier and the Chattahoochee River.

So while the state is lifting outdoor water use rules in 86 counties, the restrictions are staying in place for 12 counties that rely on that water. They are Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Habersham, Hall, Lumpkin, Paulding and White counties.

A raised flower bed in Mattie Freeland Park, with the words 'We Are Better Together' painted on the side.
Molly Samuel / WABE

The Atlanta neighborhood of English Avenue doesn't have many parks, but there's one that a community got together and built themselves in honor of a local resident who was like a grandmother to her neighbors.

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Mattie Freeland was the kind of woman who always shared her food and checked in on people, say people who knew her. They called her "Miss Mattie." She passed away several years ago, but the park that’s grown next door to her house was sort of her idea.

Seth Perlman / Associated Press

President Donald Trump is directing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to revisit a regulation on clean water.

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The Obama-era rule, known both as the Clean Water Rule and "Waters of the United States," was intended to clarify what bodies of water are protected by the Clean Water Act: Big rivers are, but what about creeks that feed into them, or streams that go dry part of the year, or wetlands? The rule would have protected those too.

Al Such / WABE

There's a drill digging a tunnel deep under Atlanta. It cuts through granite six nights a week, all night long, 300 to 400 feet below the ground.

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Eventually, it will connect Bellwood Quarry – recognizable, perhaps, from scenes in the Hunger Games, Walking Dead and Stranger Things – to the Chattahoochee River.

Now, the bottom of the quarry, where the tunnel starts, is a construction site.