Good for: A comprehensive environmental site that covers everything from tarballs to formaldehyde.

This online
partner to the Natural Resources Defense Council’s quarterly print magazine repurposes much of the dead-tree content but adds regular and almost-breaking coverage of issues such as the Keystone XL pipeline and the BP oil spill. Royte concentrates on consumer goods and toxics, while Gessner’s Wild Filechronicles his ongoing coverage of oil in the Gulf of Mexico.

Sample post: This dispatch from Alabama’s Dauphin Island illustrates some questionable uses of money meant for BP oil spill reparation, and includes theseminal post from Gessner’s book The Tarballs Chronicles.

Things were going fairly normally, though Bethany and Bill and I were still wearing our marsh-wet sneakers and pants, until, heading down toward the west end of the island, we hit a roadblock. I felt like we’d driven right into a joke: a cop, a rent-a-trailer, and a woman who looked like my grandmother in a security uniform blocked the road. We asked what was going on. “They’re padding the beach,” the cop said. None of us knew what this meant despite the fact that our car was loaded with coastal experts. “Padding the beach” was a new one on us.

We tried to talk our way in; Bill after all was a well-known local environmental reporter and Bethany the head of an environmental NGO, but no go. So Bill, a little too fast, pulled his car into a side road, parked, slammed the door, and started marching down the road on foot. He walked impossibly fast, and I, after changing from wet sneakers into kayak booties that looked like black ballet slippers, was too far behind to catch up. Bill, it turned out, was pissed about being kept out of a place that he considered part of his home range. In my former life, as a cartoonist, I might have drawn smoke coming out of his ears. …