CHEM POSSIBLE: USA Today rolls out a sprawling exposé today on toxic chemicals released near schools throughout the country. It's the result of an eight-month project using an EPA model to track industrial pollution. The WSJ writes today about how toxin-tainted soil can affect home property values. (Sources: USA Today, The Wall Street Journal

AYE OF THE TIGER: In uplifting news following this weekend's addition of the cheetah to the U.N.'s endangered species list, The Independent reports that tigers may yet stage a comeback in India. (Sources: The Guardian, The Independent)

POZNAN: Things are reportedly going slowly at the U.N. climate talks in Poland, as a deal on rewarding tropical countries for forest conservation stalled today in committee (Bianca Jagger, social activist and ex-wife of Mick Jagger, spoke at the conference today on that issue). The Washington Post takes this opportunity to remind us that the United States' next president, and his new green priorities, will take office too late to inject Obamania into the current talks. (Sources: AP, AFP, The Washington Post)

DANCING WITH THE CZARS: Obama is expected to announce his energy/environment team this week, probably Wednesday or Thursday, according to CQPolitics. He's approached many of his staffing decisions thematically, leading many to expect a climate and/or energy "czar." TNR's Bradford Plumer is skeptical of "czar-mania," but argues in favor of taking such a holistic approach, using recently appointed Commerce Secretary Bill Richardson as an example. (Sources: CQPolitics, TNR)

KEEPING IT RAIL: Ridership of public transportation raised by its largest quarterly margin in 25 years -- 6.5 percent from July to September -- despite dropping gas prices. Light rail saw the highest increase, and Amtrak ridership also went up 11 percent, but experts say the real test may come in the next quarter, as gas prices continue to fall. (Source: BusinessWeek

Russell McLendon ( @russmclendon ) writes about humans and other wildlife.

Last Call: 12/8
Look whose toxin; tigers may rebound; Poznan drags on Obamaless; punditry seeing czars; commuters stay on track