Abrahm Lustgarten

Senior Reporter

Photo of Abrahm Lustgarten

Abrahm Lustgarten is a senior environmental reporter, with a focus at the intersection of business, climate and energy. He is currently covering changes at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and working on a project about pollution at U.S. Defense sites. His 2015 series examining the causes of water scarcity in the American West, “Killing the Colorado,” was a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting and received the 2016 Keck Futures Initiative Communication Award from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Lustgarten co-produced the 2016 Discovery Channel film “Killing the Colorado,” and has previously worked with PBS Frontline, including on the 2010 documentary “The Spill,” about how BP’s corporate culture of recklessness and profiteering led to the Deepwater Horizon tragedy. That film was nominated for an Emmy. His early investigation into the environmental and economic consequences of fracking was some of the first coverage of the issue, and received the George Polk award for environmental reporting, the National Press Foundation award for best energy writing, a Sigma Delta Chi award and was honored as finalist for the Goldsmith Prize.

Before joining ProPublica in 2008, Lustgarten was a staff writer at Fortune. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Scientific American, Wired, Salon, and Esquire, among other publications. He is the author of two books; “Run to Failure: BP and the Making of the Deepwater Horizon Disaster,” and also “China’s Great Train: Beijing’s Drive West and the Campaign to Remake Tibet,” a project that was funded in part by a grant from the MacArthur Foundation. Lustgarten earned a master’s in journalism from Columbia University in 2003 and a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Cornell.

Drilling Industry Says Diesel Use Was Legal

After three members of Congress found that drilling companies used more than 32 million gallons of diesel fuel to hydraulically fracture oil and gas wells between 2005 and 2009, the industry is fighting back, not by denying the accusation, but by arguing that the EPA never fully regulated the potentially environmentally dangerous practice in the first place.

Clearing the Air on ProPublica’s Drilling Pollution Story

ProPublica responds to a pro-drilling industry group that questioned the veracity of its story on greenhouse gas emissions from gas fields

Climate Benefits of Natural Gas May Be Overstated

New emissions estimates by the Environmental Protection Agency cast doubt on the assumption that gas offers a quick and easy solution to climate change.

Opponents to Fracking Disclosure Take Big Money From Industry

The Interior Department wades into controversy as it mulls whether to require drilling companies to disclose the chemicals they use to frack wells drilled on public lands.

Déjà-vu? The National Commission Report on BP’s Gulf Disaster Echoes Old Findings

Last May, President Obama established the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling to unravel the circumstances that led to the April 20, 2010 disaster in the Gulf. A sneak-peek chapter made public on Wednesday didn’t actually conclude anything new.

Science Says Methane in PA. Water Is from Drilling, Not Natural Causes

Testing has shown that methane gas in water wells across the country matches the methane being drilled for natural gas supplies. But a woman quoted in a New York Times report hinted that in Pennsylvania -- despite state official's conclusions to the contrary -- that may not be the case.

Corrosion Warnings at BP Facilities in Alaska: Here’s What the Data Mean

Following up on our earlier reporting, we explain what it means that 148 of BP's pipelines in Alaska have been ranked for "failure" by BP inspectors, according to documents we received from BP workers.

The Questions BP Didn't Answer

Full disclosure on the questions put to BP and how the company responded.

Furious Growth and Cost Cuts Led To BP Accidents Past and Present

An EPA attorney tried for 12 years to make oil giant BP operate safely. Now, recently retired, she says BP should be banned from doing business with the U.S. government. A ProPublica and PBS FRONTLINE investigation.

Slideshow: A Tour of BP

Preview 'The Spill'

Do 'Environmental Extremists' Pose Criminal Threat to Gas Drilling?

A state bulletin warns that environmental “extremists” may target public hearings and other events for criminal activity to protest natural gas drilling in rural parts of Pennsylvania, but drilling opponents say the threat is exaggerated.

Feds Warn Residents Near Wyoming Gas Drilling Sites Not to Drink Their Water

The federal government is warning residents in a small Wyoming town with extensive natural gas development not to drink their water, and to use fans and ventilation when showering or washing clothes in order to avoid the risk of an explosion.

New York Senate Passes Temporary Ban on Hydraulic Fracturing

The New York Senate passes a bill intended to temporarily ban hydraulic fracturing. But it might also end up temporarily banning most gas and oil drilling in the state.

Why Gas Leaks Matter in the Hydraulic Fracturing Debate

Methane contamination is a bellwether issue in discussion of the safety of hydraulic fracturing, because where methane goes, other chemicals can go, too.

Drilling Accountability Bill Would Regulate Fracturing Too

A Senate bill aimed at cracking down on oil drillers after the Gulf spill includes a measure to require companies to make public what chemicals they've injected underground in natural gas drilling.

New Documents Show BP Made Little Progress on Alaska Safety Issues From 2001 to 2007

Six years after a scathing 2001 internal review of BP's Alaska operations found that the company wasn't maintaining safety equipment and faced "a fundamental lack of trust" among workers, a follow-up study concluded BP had made little headway in addressing those concerns.

Years of Internal BP Probes Warned That Neglect Could Lead to Accidents

Internal investigations warned BP for years that the company had created a culture of disregard for safety and environmental rules and risked a serious accident if it did not change its ways. While the investigations focuses on BP's Alaska drilling operations, the lessons apply to the Gulf as well.

Whistleblower Sues to Stop Another BP Rig From Operating

A whistleblower has filed a lawsuit trying to halt operations at another BP oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico, alleging that the company never reviewed critical engineering designs and is therefore risking another catastrophe.

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