Here’s what South Carolina doesn’t want the public to know about firing squads and executions

Shortly before state lawmakers approved the firing squad in May, Corrections created confidentiality agreements that suppress information from execution workers. Since then, the agency has concealed documents and particulars that explain the state’s execution plans, regardless of method, my investigation for The State Media Co. shows. That violates state law, media attorneys agree. It could also be a human rights violation.

State reporter earns a top spot in national competition for science-related coverage

My investigative reporting for WIRED, Scientific American and The State earned second place in the 2021 Evert Clark/Seth Payne Award, a national competition for young science journalists. “Eisner’s investigation on the industrial exploitation of horseshoe crabs is a model of dogged reporting,” the Council for the Association of Science Writers wrote in the announcement of my Honorable Mention. “She won accolades for challenging a powerful company that other journalists have had trouble penetrating.”

Americans Took Prevagen for Years—as the FDA Questioned Its Safety

My investigation for WIRED now showed that for years, officials at the FDA questioned the basis for the claims made by the company that manufactures Prevagen, a popular supplement for brain health. Multiple FDA inspections, most of which had not been reported before, found significant issues with the manufacturing processes, complaint handling, and the quality control testing that was supposed to ensure the products were safe. And thousands of Americans have reported experiencing “adverse events” while taking Prevagen, including seizures, strokes, heart arrhythmias, chest pain, and dizziness, my reporting exposed.
Ariane Mueller

Vaccine testing is changing. Why is this $13B lab still bleeding SC horseshoe crabs?

Horseshoe crabs are at least 445 million years old and grow larger in South Carolina than almost anywhere else in America. Since their blue blood can expertly detect a potentially deadly bacterial toxin, for decades, they’ve been bled to help develop safe vaccines. But the process that can harm the animals is no longer needed, some scientists say. And the company that still bleeds the animals in the state, Charles River Laboratories, has for years presented information to the public that experts say has been misleading and sometimes inaccurate, my investigation for The State Media Co. showed.

‘The refuge is closed’: Permits to be required for Cape Romain horseshoe crab harvest

For decades, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has allowed fishermen working for pharmaceutical companies to harvest horseshoe crabs from the beaches and salt marshes that make up South Carolina’s Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge without first conducting a review of how the harvest may be damaging wildlife, or requiring that fishermen apply for permits from the federal government. A six-line announcement signed by a regional chief of the agency and quietly published on the refuge’s website

Company accused of polluting ocean with plastic has an ally: SC ports

Never-before-seen documents reviewed by The State Media Co. — reported here for the first time — revealed leadership at the Ports Authority has been helping shield Frontier and its business supplier from scrutiny despite internally noting that the company was responsible for spills. And in emails exchanged in private, leaders of both organizations sometimes seemed to dismiss ecological concerns or public accountability, the documents show.

Company accused of plastic pollution agrees to pay SC nonprofits $1M in settlement

Half a year after my reporting revealed for the first time that the SC Ports Authority and the CEO of a company accused of plastics pollution shared a friendly relationship, the company agreed to pay $1 million to the two Charleston-based environmental nonprofits that had been suing it. Emails I published showed the Ports Authority president offered to shield the company's CEO from public scrutiny after a government agency found evidence of pollution at the site it rented from the port — despite acknowledging internally that Frontier’s facilities were prone to spillage and holding the company financially responsible for clean-up costs.

Large Methane Leaks Reveal Long-Standing Shortfalls in Oversight

For years, oil and gas companies have been required to detect and repair methane leaks in their equipment. But scientists have produced dozens of studies over the past decade that suggest the current methods and technology used by industry to detect leaks—and by regulators to estimate how much methane is emitted—are inadequate to catch the actual scale of the problem, as my story for Scientific American shows.

Why are ‘Dreamers’ who call South Carolina home leaving? ‘It’s like a toxic relationship’

The occupational and educational limitations that DACA recipients face in South Carolina are some of the most restrictive in the nation. But the laws themselves are not the only problem. An investigation by my co-reporter Lucas Larson and I showed DACA recipients reported falling victim to misinformation about the laws while studying at South Carolina’s educational institutions, and said racism was tolerated in the schools they attended. Taken together, the “toxic” climate they described made their situations more difficult than the laws required, they said, and has led to some of them choosing to leave the state. Reporters spoke to seven of the thousands of S.C. students with DACA status. Though they grew up in different regions of the state, their stories of mistreatment and misinformation were similar.

The story of ‘La Isla’: How Hispanic students became the face of Hilton Head

The world knows Hilton Head Island as a resort paradise with pristine beaches and golf courses to match. Its gated communities play host to multi million-dollar homes and, overwhelmingly, white retirees. It’s an image that hides history: the native island families who trace their lineage back long before white developers arrived and today’s new reality: a significant Hispanic and Latino community that is coming into its own.
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