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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.

PA Governor Gives Energy Executive Supreme Authority Over Environmental Permitting

Pennsylvania’s governor has appointed an energy industry executive to oversee the state’s job creation effort and wants to give him unusual authority to streamline state permits, including for gas drilling.

Former Bush EPA Official Says Fracking Exemption Went Too Far; Congress Should Revisit

Benjamin Grumbles, assistant administrator for water at the Environmental Protection Agency in the George W. Bush administration, ponders criticism leveled at a 2004 study on hydraulic fracturing and suggests that it's now time for Congress and the EPA to take another look at the practice.

PA Environment Gets the Axe – Environmental Permitting To Be Streamlined

Governor’s proposed budget would cut environmental protections and streamline regulatory processes to encourage job creation.

Hydrofracked? One Man's Mystery Leads to a Backlash Against Natural Gas Drilling

When the well water on Louis Meeks' ranch turned brown and oily, he suspected that the thousands of natural gas wells dotting the once-empty Wyoming landscape were somehow to blame. The hard part was proving it. Meeks' struggle to get the energy companies to take responsibility, meticulously documented through three years of investigative reporting by ProPublica's Abrahm Lustgarten, coincides with a national uproar over the oil and gas drilling process called hydraulic fracturing. The technology, which is explored in the Oscar-nominated film "Gasland," promises to open large new energy supplies, perhaps at the expense of the nation's water.

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.

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