About James Odato

In a career rooted in watchdog reporting, Explorer editor James M. Odato has been cited as one of New York’s top journalists covering state government, gambling, and abuse and waste of public money. He has written thousands of articles, his byline has appeared in numerous national publications and his investigative stories have spurred reforms. As a staff reporter for five daily newspapers, including the Albany Times Union and Buffalo News, Odato has received more than 30 awards from the Associated Press, New York Publishers Association, the New York Legislative Correspondents Association and other media organizations. In 2007, Investigative Reporters and Editors recognized his reporting with the Freedom of Information Award Medal. In October 2021, the University of Massachusetts Press released his book, This Brain Had a Mouth, Lucy Gwin and the Voice of Disability Nation.

Reader Interactions


  1. upstater says

    I’ll have to read the report. I didn’t see “brine” mentioned in the article. It is widely used in Switzerland to minimize environmental impacts.

    • Joan Grabe says

      Brine is salt ! Only watered down. I like the warming of roads by thinning trees and actually looking at where ice is worse. But it all pales when a school bus skids off the road even if no child is injured. I guess one of the easiest answers is to slow down. Or even stay home unless you actually must go out.

  2. Paul says

    Looks like it is impacting far fewer lakes (7%) than I would have expected. That is good to see. Problem is these are probably the ones around where the people ar eliving. They need to compare a year where salt use was low compared to higher use years to see really what the impact of using less will be.

  3. Jeff says

    I wonder if there are incentives – monetary, perceived job security, or others – for transportation departments to use as much road salt as possible. Here in the Syracuse area, it’s almost comical how much salt they dump on the roads. (It’s also absurd how much the snowplows are used, often grinding away at almost-bare roads.) It’s as if they’re looking for every possible excuse to get out there, scrape the daylights out of the pavement, and dump mountains of salt and sand on every inch of roadway. It’s understandable – if that’s your job, you want to look busy – but there’s a cost to all that pollution. 34 tons of salt per lane-mile is 68 tons for one mile of a two-lane road. That’s one ton of salt every 75 feet – that is insane!

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