Véronique LaCapra

Veronique is a science & technology reporter for KWMU in St. Louis.

For the first time, the byproducts of coal-fired power plants will now be subject to federal regulation.

In a state like Missouri, which generates more than 80 percent of its electricity from coal, the new standards could have significant repercussions.

The Missouri Coalition for the Environment is one of several groups filing suit against the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to try to get the agency to address the long-term storage of nuclear waste.

That suit follows similar cases filed by the states of New York, Connecticut, and Vermont, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Prairie Island Indian Community in Minnesota.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed the first-ever rules to cut carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants. The proposal sparked immediate debate over the impact, especially in states such as Missouri that depend heavily on coal.

The new regulations would reduce carbon pollution from the power sector by 30 percent nationwide by 2030, compared to 2005 emissions levels.

(Updated at 3:39 p.m., February 20)

In an investigation spanning the past few months, St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon has discovered the state of Missouri may be ignoring its own laws in carrying out the death penalty by buying execution drugs from a pharmacy not licensed to do business in Missouri.

Wikimedia Commons - CC

A month ago, St. Louis Public Radio reported on the questionable manner in which the state of Missouri got ahold of its potential execution drug. Now Missouri has a new plan to go ahead with two upcoming executions, but the process is anything but open.

Kelsey Proud / St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Clean Water Commission has approved a sweeping regulatory overhaul of the state's water quality standards.

In a vote held Wednesday, the governor-appointed seven-person panel unanimously approved revised regulations that greatly expand the number of protected water bodies in the state. An additional 2,100 lakes and 90,000 miles of rivers and streams will gain protection under the law, including specific limits on bacteria and other pollutants.

Veronique LaCapra / St. Louis Public Radio

Two weeks ago, Gov. Jay Nixon instructed the Missouri Department of Corrections to come up with a new procedure for carrying out lethal injections.

On Tuesday, the department announced that it had chosen a new execution drug: pentobarbitol. But the state also made a change that will end up making it harder, if not impossible, to know where the drugs come from.

Veronique Lacapra / KWMU

On Friday, Gov. Jay Nixon postponed the execution of an inmate that was set for later this month. That execution was going to be carried out using propofol, a common anesthetic that has never been used in a lethal injection before. So why the change in plans?

Governor Jay Nixon said Missouri will be moving forward with two executions later this year, in spite of objections from the American Civil Liberties Union and the European Union.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was in St. Louis on Thursday to talk about the Affordable Care Act.

Sebelius met with city and county officials and representatives of the local healthcare community in a closed-door session at St. Louis City Hall.

Speaking at a press conference after the meeting, Sebelius said as of October 1, Missourians will be able to purchase health insurance through a new online marketplace.

Sebelius said many of Missouri's 800,000 uninsured will be able to get coverage.

Updated at 5:00 p.m.

A St. Louis-based environmental group has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for failing to provide information about a multi-state oil pipeline project.

The Missouri Coalition for the Environment says the Corps unlawfully withheld documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act.

Véronique La Capra / St. Louis Public Radio

Charles Darwin revolutionized science. His theory of evolution was based on careful observations of birds and other wildlife in places like the Galapagos Islands.

One thing that has been really slow to evolve is the gender mix in science. Men still dominate many scientific fields, just like they did in Darwin’s day, more than 150 years ago.

But gradually, more women are breaking in. I met up with two young women scientists in ― where else? ― the Galapagos. Here are their stories.

Maricruz Jaramillo fulfills a dream

Dan Kirk / St. Louis Zoo

For a second year, the St. Louis Zoo is continuing efforts to bring back an endangered beetle to southwestern Missouri.

For the first time, the federal government has released the prices that hospitals for the 100 most common inpatient procedures.  The prices for a given procedure can vary by tens of thousands of dollars.

More than 100 elk are now living in southeast Missouri after efforts to restore the species to the state.
David Stonner / Missouri Department of Conservation

Efforts to reestablish an elk population in southeastern Missouri are now in their third year, and the Missouri Department of Conservation considers the project a success.

There are close to 70 elk now living in parts of Carter, Shannon and Reynolds counties, with another 50 arriving in May.

A number of calves have been born at Peck Ranch, including this 2011 newborn.

The March of Dimes has released its annual state rankings of premature birth rates, giving Missouri a grade of "C" for the second year in a row.

Kristin/beautyredefined / Flickr

About 590,000 Missourians and 67,000 Kansans are slated to get money back from their health insurance companies this month.

Sylvie Beland / NASA

A rare astronomical event will be visible over the skies of Kansas City at 5:10 p.m. Tuesday, June 5—the transit of Venus.  That’s when Venus, from our viewpoint, will pass across the sun.

A new report by the American Lung Association puts Missouri near the bottom of the list when it comes to state tobacco control policies.

If you've noticed your grocery bill has gotten higher lately, you're not imagining things. Food prices in Missouri rose in the fourth quarter of 2011, according to the Missouri Farm Bureau's year-end Marketbasket survey.