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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.

Feds Let BP Off Probation Despite Pending Safety Violations

A Justice Department spokesman said BP had addressed 270 serious violations at the Texas City refinery where 15 workers died in an explosion, but the company is still negotiating with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration over hundreds more.

BP Settlement Leaves Most Complex Claims Unresolved

BP has agreed to pay $7.8 billion to compensate Gulf Coast residents damaged in a massive 2010 oil spill, but the company still faces a criminal investigation and a battery of state lawsuits and federal claims

Years After Evidence of Fracking Contamination, EPA to Supply Drinking Water to Homes in Pa. Town

The federal agency announced it would bring tanks of drinking water to four homes in Dimock, Pa.

Fracking Cracks the Public Consciousness in 2011

The year brings a bumper crop of studies, intensifying health concerns, and a landmark development when environmental regulators conclude hydraulic fracturing likely caused groundwater contamination for the first time.

Feds Link Water Contamination to Fracking for the First Time

The EPA’s investigation into water pollution near Pavillion, Wyo., produces landmark findings that could erode arguments used to defend safety of the gas drilling process.

Company Backs out of $45 Million Deal to Buy Troubled Wyoming Gas Field

Legacy Resources reverses its plan to acquire gas assets near Pavillion, Wyom., shortly after the EPA unveiled test results showing water pollution nearby.

EPA Finds Compound Used in Fracking in Wyoming Aquifer

After years of complaints from residents about foul water and health concerns, government investigators have found chemical compounds consistent with those used in natural gas fracking.

Science Lags as Health Problems Emerge Near Gas Fields

People who live close to natural gas drilling in four states complain of similar health symptoms, ranging from respiratory infections to lesions and neurological problems, but there is little science or study to get at the cause of their ailments.

N.Y. Enviro Commissioner Expects Little From EPA Fracking Study

In an interview, the commissioner of New York's Department of Environmental Conservation says he is confident underground contamination from hydraulic fracturing is not a risk, and that the Environmental Protection Agency's study of fracking won't yield new information.

Does an Old EPA Fracking Study Provide Proof of Contamination?

A 24-year-old EPA report uncovered this week adds to a list of examples of how water supplies are polluted in natural gas drilling areas and provides the strongest articulation yet by federal officials that fracking has caused the contamination.

Latest BP Spill in Alaska Was Foreshadowed in Risk Assessment Last Year

A section of the BP pipeline that leaked thousands of gallons of methanol and oily wastewater into the Alaskan tundra on Saturday was flagged by the company more than a year ago as so corroded it presented an imminent threat of rupture.

EPA Fracking Study to Focus on Five States—But Not Wyoming

The Environmental Protection Agency has picked seven sites in five states that it will focus on for its national study of the effects of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water. The sites do not include two counties in Wyoming, where the EPA has already been collecting data for three years.

Gas Drilling Companies Hold Data Needed by Researchers to Assess Risk to Water Quality

Drilling companies complain that a recent study that linked methane in water wells to gas drilling lacked critical data. Now it turns out that the industry has been collecting that type of data for years but hasn’t made it public.

Scientific Study Links Flammable Drinking Water to Fracking

For the first time, a peer-reviewed scientific study has linked natural gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing with a pattern of drinking water contamination so severe that some faucets can be lit on fire.

Natural Gas Drilling Is at a Crucial Turning Point

The natural gas industry must develop regulations that scale up drilling safely and learn from the mistakes made in the United States.

More Reasons to Question Whether Gas Is Cleaner Than Coal

Evidence continues to mount saying that natural gas is not be as clean as we like to think.

Pa.’s New Jobs Czar Fought Enviro Regs for Years

Pennsylvania's governor has asked C. Alan Walker to promote job growth by helping companies get the permits that they need. But Walker's personal business history raises a crucial question: How might an anti-regulation coal mogul affect the state's environmental regulations for the Marcellus Shale?

Pennsylvania Limits Authority of Oil and Gas Inspectors

A leaked memo says oil and gas inspectors can no longer issue violations to drilling companies in the Marcellus Shale without first getting the approval of top officials.

Even In Worst Case, Japan’s Nuclear Disaster Will Have Limited Reach

The long-term health and environmental impacts of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear crisis should be largely contained to the area around the plant and a limited population.

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