Molly Peterson Environment Correspondent

Molly Peterson
Contact Molly Peterson

Molly Peterson is an award-winning environment correspondent at Southern California Public Radio.

Molly has reported, edited, directed programs, and produced stories for NPR and NPR shows including "Day to Day" and KQED's "California Report." She was a contributing producer for Nick Spitzer's weekly music program, "American Routes," and reported for "Living on Earth" in the Gulf of Mexico after Hurricanes Katrina & Rita. Prior to joining KPCC, she produced a nationally-distributed radio documentary about New Orleans called "Finding Solid Ground."

A former LA Press Club radio journalist of the year, Molly reported on the faulty pumps installed at New Orleans canals after Hurricane Katrina. That project was a finalist for an Investigative Reporters and Editors award.

Molly worked for NPR American legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg during the Clinton Impeachment.

She studied international politics at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, and graduated from UC Hastings College of the Law. She is an inactive member of the State Bar of California.

Molly was lucky enough to grow up climbing northern California trees and fishing eastern Sierra waters.


Stories by Molly Peterson

Fire, the Revelator

If Hurricane Katrina were a superhero, in LA right now, she'd be The Quantifier. This Station Fire is as big a disaster as Katrina... That's one way to do it. Or, as I heard today on Patt Morrison's show, about evacuating animals: We learned our lesson during Katrina.

Firefighters continue to battle growing Station Fire

KPCC's Steve Julian talks to Molly Peterson, and gives us the latest of the Station Fire that has grown overnight.

Santa Monica Mountains residents seek more responsibility for fighting fire

Two autumns ago, a fire in Malibu’s Corral Canyon destroyed more than 50 houses and caused $100 million of damage. Since then, some people who live in and around the Santa Monica Mountains have started their own fire protection efforts. KPCC’s Molly Peterson profiles one of these groups.

Reputation and identity

In reporting this story I heard a lot about reputation. The reputation of the Army Corps, different in different regions. Reputation of an engineering firm, an architecture and design firm.

Pumps Under Pressure: A matter of time?

This week, KPCC has reported on evidence that the federal government placed faulty water pumps around New Orleans after Katrina – despite Bush Administration promises to improve the city’s hurricane protection system. The evidence comes from a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers whistleblower and documents obtained by KPCC’s Molly Peterson. Failing pumps mean more than a possible repeat of Katrina, as Peterson reports in this final installment of our series.

SCADA data: Like Doogie Howser said...

The best thing about it, for the non-engineers and poets among us, is that it rhymes.

Pumps Under Pressure: Investigations, strong storms raise stakes

We continue a story today about hurricane protection equipment, pumps installed in New Orleans after Katrina. A Los Angeles-based Corps engineer says they won’t protect the city in a major storm. To this day no public records indicate that these pumps will work as designed. KPCC’s Molly Peterson reports on how the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other federal agencies have listened to this whistleblower’s concerns.

Muddy waters, not McKinley Morganfield

New Orleans specializes in muddy waters.

Pumps Under Pressure: Testing troubles persist

As the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches, KPCC is reporting on a key piece of equipment intended to keep New Orleans safe. A Los Angeles-based employee of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says more than three dozen of the area’s water pumps would not work in a major storm. KPCC’s Molly Peterson has uncovered evidence that backs up the whistleblower’s claims. She picks up the story with pump testing.

For want of a nail

The day Maria Garzino left Florida for New Orleans, in early May of 2006, I was in New Orleans, interviewing Jurjen Battjes: he first launched me down this river. In person, he’s sort of like if you combined the elongated ovularity of Bert with the glasses of Beaker, and just a pinch of Ernie in his grin.

Pumps Under Pressure: Army Corps moves swiftly after storm

KPCC’s Molly Peterson has carried out an extensive investigation of an Army Corps engineer's claim that a key part of New Orleans' rebuilt hurricane protection system will not work, and she has found that claim could very well be true. In the first of four reports, Molly explains why New Orleans needed those new pumps.

Rollin' out the barrels, checkin' on the cistern

LA City Councilman Bill Rosendahl’s office has been working with Mar Vista residents to demonstrate a rain barrel project. They’re rolling out the barrels now. (ha!) I plan to go check them out.

Aquatic invaders! (Personally, I prefer hitchhikers. It's nicer.)

The LA Times today reports on a proliferation of Asian clams in Lake Tahoe. The clams have been around for seven years, at least; it's in the last couple that they're really taking off.

Santa Monica park rangers add another mountain lion to tracking group

Park rangers in the Santa Monica Mountains have added another mountain lion to the group they’re tracking in the area. More on the story from KPCC’s Molly Peterson.

The mayor's coal goals

You may have seen this poster around town lately - I first noticed it on a fence at Second and Beaudry, near KPCC's offices.