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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. 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.

Louisiana Well Blowout Forces Hundreds From Homes

Trouble at a natural gas well contaminates an aquifer near Shreveport, and nearby residents are evacuated after the drilling company says it can't contain well pressure underground. It's unclear what contaminants are involved.

Cabot Oil & Gas's Marcellus Drilling to Slow After PA Environment Officials Order Wells Closed

Pennsylvania has come down hard on a natural gas company whose drilling contaminated drinking water. Houston-based Cabot Oil and Gas must close some wells, pay nearly a quarter million dollars in fines, and permanently provide drinking water to 14 families.

Broad Scope of EPA’s Fracturing Study Raises Ire of Gas Industry

A new EPA study of hydraulic fracturing that has invoked the ire of drilling companies is expected to provide a broad look at the natural gas drilling process, including injection spills, leaks and water contamination incidents.

EPA Launches National Study of Hydraulic Fracturing

The U.S. EPA plans a nationwide study to see if reported water contamination in gas drilling areas is caused by the practice of injecting chemicals and water underground to fracture the gas-bearing rock.The study, hinted at for months, will go over the same ground as a much-criticized 2004 study that found that the practice did not endanger water supplies, even though that study did not test any water.

Natural Gas Drilling: What We Don't Know

State Oil and Gas Regulators Are Spread Too Thin to Do Their Jobs

As the gas drilling industry has boomed nationwide, the number of inspectors looking for violations has not kept pace, with some wells going uninspected for years. The imbalance between drilling growth and regulatory staffing levels could become a crucial factor as lawmakers and the public weigh how much environmental damage to expect in exchange for the benefits brought by the drilling.

New York City Calls for Drilling Ban in Watershed, Rejects State Study

ew York City officials have called for a ban on natural gas drilling within the city’s 2,000-square-mile upstate watershed and urged Albany to withdraw its controversial draft environmental review for drilling across the state.

Underused Drilling Practices Could Avoid Pollution

Innovative industry "best practices" that may make it easier to exploit U.S. gas reserves with less water and air pollution are used inconsistently across the 31 states where natural gas is drilled. Rarely required by state or federal regulations, they are usually put in place only when drilling companies are forced to by cost or regulatory concerns.

Pa. Residents Sue Gas Driller for Contamination, Health Concerns

A federal suit by residents of Dimock, Pa., say Cabot Oil and Gas contaminated their water wells and sickened many of them. They seek a trust fund for medical costs and the end of drilling in the Marcellus Shale near their town.

New York City Hints at Anti-Drilling Stance

New York Drilling Study a Step Forward

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