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Abrahm Lustgarten

Reporter

Photo of Abrahm Lustgarten

Abrahm Lustgarten is a senior environmental reporter, with a focus at the intersection of business, climate and energy. 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.

At Last, Air Monitor Set to Test for Lead Near Military Open Burn Site

For decades, residents near the Radford ammunition plant in Virginia have worried about the threat from munitions burning. A monitor near a school outside of the plant might start to offer answers.

Dangerous Pollutants in Military’s Open Burns Greater Than Thought, Tests Indicate

The first results in a national effort to better measure the levels of contaminants released through the burning of munitions and their waste show elevated levels of lead, arsenic and other toxins.

Kaboom Town

The U.S. military burns millions of pounds of munitions in a tiny, African-American corner of Louisiana. The town’s residents say they’re forgotten in the plume.

Open Burns, Ill Winds

The Pentagon’s handling of munitions and their waste has poisoned millions of acres, and left Americans to guess at the threat to their health.

Is the EPA’s Landmark ‘Endangerment Finding’ Now Itself Imperiled?

The EPA’s court-backed determination that greenhouse gases are a threat to America’s health and security might prove hard for a Trump administration to undo.

California and EPA Poised to Expand Pollution of Potential Drinking Water Reserves

A little-known program under federal environment law is being used to permit oil and gas companies to inject waste into the state’s aquifers, even as the thirst for groundwater grows.

Gimme a Break! IRS Tax Loophole Can Reward Excessive Water Use in Drought-stricken West

Experts fear tax deductions for water use as a “depleted asset” could actually worsen the crisis as rivers and reservoirs dry up.

Federal Report Appears to Undercut EPA Assurances on Water Safety In Pennsylvania

Dimock, one of many places where gas drilling boomed in Pennsylvania, gets a sobering take on the quality of its drinking water.

As One of Its Chief Sources of Water Dries Up, California Eases Restrictions on Use Nonetheless

A single relatively wet winter has led California officials to relax in a way some water experts fear is reckless.

Drought be Dammed

The water crisis in the West has renewed debate about the effectiveness of major dams, with some pushing for the enormous Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River to be decommissioned.

Liquid Assets

A maverick hedge fund manager thinks Wall Street is the answer to the water crisis in the West.

Former Las Vegas Water Czar Joins Board of Casino Giant

Patricia Mulroy’s appointment to the board at Wynn Resorts re-ignites debate about her performance during a time of explosive growth and worsening drought.

Amid Drought, California Experiments With Leasing Water Rights

The state's cities need water. Its farmers have it. Could leasing rights to it solve the crisis responsibly?

Less Than Zero

Despite decades of accepted science, California and Arizona are still miscounting their water supplies.

How Much Water Does the West Really Have?

Less Than Zero

Despite decades of accepted science, California and Arizona are still miscounting their water supplies.

How Much Water Does the West Really Have?

As America’s west has waged its battle against water scarcity, some of its officials have been miscalculating to some degree just how much water is actually available. If states in the West keep managing water this way, we risk a water crisis even worse than we fear.

End of the Miracle Machines: Inside the Power Plant Fueling America's Drought

The Navajo Generating Station helps move trillions of gallons of water over mountains, through canals, 336 miles into Phoenix and Tucson. But it comes at an enormous cost.

End of the Miracle Machines: Inside the Power Plant Fueling America's Drought

The Navajo Generating Station helps move trillions of gallons of water over mountains, through canals, 336 miles into Phoenix and Tucson. But it comes at an enormous cost.

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