Jan Ellen Spiegel

Jan has won awards for her reporting on energy, environment and food and agriculture. In 2013 she was the recipient of a Knight Journalism Fellowship at MIT on energy and climate. She is a former editor at The Hartford Courant, where she handled national politics including coverage of the controversial 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. As a freelance reporter, her stories have appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and elsewhere. She was an editor at the Gazette in Colorado Springs and spent more than 20 years as a TV and radio producer at CBS News and CNN in New York and in the Boston broadcast market. She graduated from the University of Michigan and attended Boston University’s graduate film program. E-mail her at janellenspiegel@comcast.net.

Recent Posts

Above the waves, Connecticut fishermen struggle to hang on

The town dock In Stonington is quieter than ever as climate change has made it harder to catch fish.

Shifting fish species have Connecticut fishermen in an emotional dispute over how the U.S. fishing system operates. They’re calling, if not downright begging, for immediate changes to fish allocations to save the state’s fishing industry from what many believe is its inevitable ruin. But others in the scientific and environmental communities are saying – maybe not so fast. Continue Reading →

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Connecticut’s traditional fishing catch is heading north

A bin of lobsters

Climate change-induced shifts of marine species in the Northeast are forcing changes in fishing patterns for Connecticut fishermen, threatening to upend fishing management systems and generating political controversy and finger-pointing as policies struggle to keep up with the pace of fish movement, and the Connecticut fishing community struggles to hang on. Continue Reading →

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Green Bank raid upsets business, environmental communities

Solar panels

The raid on the Green Bank and other clean energy programs to help plug the state’s huge budget deficit is bringing together groups often at odds. Environmentalists and business interests, including the state’s most prominent business lobby, agree the raid is a bad idea. Continue Reading →

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Recycling food waste in Connecticut: Slow as molasses

A rendering of the Quantum Biopower anaerobic digester proposed for Southington.

Five years after legislative initiatives designed to do something about the large amount of food waste in Connecticut’s trash, very little has been implemented, and the food waste problem is getting bigger. A lot bigger. Continue Reading →

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A shifting ground for artificial turf in Connecticut

Justin Lewis celebrates on his high school soccer field in Stratford.

A number of cancer cases around the country among young athletes who played on artificial turf fields made with a crumb rubber filler have spurred calls for further research into the safety of the fields. Continue Reading →

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Shared solar program in Connecticut stalled over who pays for what

A shared solar field in Rehoboth, Mass. Investment in the concept is heavy in that state.

Connecticut’s shared solar pilot program has already missed its first deadline and faces even more delays. In the meantime, arguments over how to pay for clean energy are bubbling up again. Continue Reading →

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Connecticut getting $54 million in ‘disaster resilience’ money

Bridgeport and the new administration of Mayor Joe Ganim appear to be the biggest beneficiaries of $54.2 million in federal funds awarded Thursday to Connecticut to help Fairfield and New Haven counties better prepare for coastal flooding and climate change. Continue Reading →

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Massive rail plan leaves Connecticut hopeful but mystified

Northeast rail corridor proposal Option 3

Proposals to reinvent the Northeast Corridor rail system could impact Connecticut more than any other state. But a lack of detail in the plans is causing exasperation even among those who have been pushing for rail improvements for decades, and it has environmentalists worrying whether losses will outweigh the benefits. Continue Reading →

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Winter power, gas supplies, new pipelines – a volatile mix in CT

AIM image2 Cromwell CT

Another winter, another warning from the folks who run the power grid that natural gas shortages could cause power problems. The warning once again focuses all eyes on natural gas pipelines – viewed as either a big answer to the region’s power difficulties or a big problem, depending on whom you talk to. Continue Reading →

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Bridgeport election sparks anxiety over big environmental plans

Incoming Mayor Joseph P. Ganim on election night.

BRIDGEPORT — With Mayor Bill Finch leaving office soon, there is concern for the incomplete environmental projects in his BGreeen 2020 initiative. Some worry that Mayor-elect Joseph P. Ganim, who campaigned on cutting taxes, could choose to pull the plug on some of the projects – especially those that involve city money. Continue Reading →

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Herbicide finding intensifies battle over GMO labeling

Hybrid corn  growing in Ohio.

More than two years after passing the nation’s first law requiring labels on most foods containing genetically engineered components, there are still no labels for Genetically Modified Organisms – GMOs – in Connecticut or anywhere else in the U.S. But GMO labeling advocates now have some new ammunition for a counter-offensive. Continue Reading →

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CT’s repeat flood damage dilemma: move out or rebuild?

An elevated home on Milford's Cooper Avenue.

Thousands of Connecticut homes have been repeatedly damaged by flooding due to storms. costing the government millions in insurance claims. The losses are now causing some to question the wisdom of policies that encourage rebuilding. They say that with climate change, those properties will grow more vulnerable and money would be better spent moving people out. So far, however, few homeowners are interested. Continue Reading →

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Invasive species keep coming. Will climate change bring more?

Scientist Claire Rutledge of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station places parasitic wasps in Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden in an effort to slow the spread of the emerald ash borer. The tracks of the borer can be seen on the tree trunk.

It’s an unexpectedly busy summer for invasive species in Connecticut. A new beetle is attacking pines and an old one is attacking ash trees. There’s another dangerous mosquito. The big question — will climate change bring even more problems? Continue Reading →

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Climate change poses risks for Amtrak’s already vulnerable eastern CT rail line


The section of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor from New Haven to the Rhode Island border, which has hugged the state’s shoreline for more than 100 years, includes stretches of rail already vulnerable to storms and flooding. As climate change exacerbates the risks, just about that entire line is believed to be in some level of jeopardy. The second of two stories. Continue Reading →

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Climate change threatens Connecticut’s vital shoreline rail


As the state invests in a multi-billion-dollar plan to upgrade the rail line, there are those who say the impact of climate change isn’t being considered carefully enough. They worry the plan will entrench the line in locations vulnerable to storms and flooding. But others say it’s too expensive to move the line, and there are other ways to mitigate the impact. First of two stories. Continue Reading →

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