The Tesoro oil refinery in Anacortes, Washington. Joel Van Haren/ Al Jazeera English
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A Center for Public Integrity series detailing battles nationwide over air pollution, climate change and enforcement of environmental laws has garnered a major award from the Society of Environmental Journalists.

The Carbon Wars project was awarded First Place/Outstanding Explanatory Reporting in the society’s 2016-17 Awards for Reporting on the Environment. The project was the work of reporters Jamie Smith Hopkins and Jie Jenny Zou, news developer Chris Zubak-Skees and managing editor/environment Jim Morris. The award also recognizes journalists from and Al Jazeera English, who partnered with the Center on portions of the series. Part of the project also appeared in a variety of USA TODAY Network outlets.

Contest judges called the series “gripping” and said “the storytelling throughout is an alluring mix of analytical and deeply human.” Judges went on to say that “with each installment in the series, the reporters continue to push the conversation forward, offering new thoroughly reported examples of regulatory weaknesses and cases of damaging pollution.”

The recognition marks the third time that the Center’s environment team has won top honors in the SEJ contest since 2014.

A second Center project, Science for Sale, won Honorable Mention in the 2016-17 contest’s Kevin Carmody Award for Outstanding In-depth Reporting, Small Market.

Other winners in the contest include Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, The Oregonian, National Geographic, The Texas Observer and The Intercept.

Winners will be honored at a lunch in October during SEJ’s annual meeting in Pittsburgh.

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