Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "fossil fuel" ...

  • The Center for Public Integrity, The Texas Tribune, The Associated Press and Newsy: Blowout

    “Blowout: Inside America’s Energy Gamble” is the result of four newsrooms joining forces for the better part of a year to produce a multi-part investigation — seven stories, one full-length documentary — examining the vast scope, shadowy impetus and sweeping health and climate impacts of America’s largest oil and gas boom. Following key rule changes during the Obama administration that opened the floodgates for oil and gas exports, producers are looking to meet a growing global demand for fossil fuels — and, critics note, to inflate the need. We gave readers a cradle-to-grave look at this phenomenon, starting where the fossil fuels are pulled from the ground and ending in countries where they’re being consumed. Our series exposed the role of the U.S. government as a marketing agent for the fossil-fuel industry at a perilous time in the world’s history, with worsening climate change threatening lives, property and entire communities.
  • Carbon Wars

    Climate change can seem abstract and overwhelming. Pollution, likewise, can seem intractable. In fact, macro subjects like these can be brought down to ground level, as evidenced by "Carbon Wars," an unsparing look at the fossil-fuel industry with the aim of accountability — calling out companies that poison our air and water and feed global warming, and regulators and politicians who can’t or won’t do their jobs.
  • Big Oil and Climate Change

    Even as major oil companies were publicly casting doubt on climate change science, they were quietly taking steps to protect their businesses from its effects.
  • Big Oil, Bad Air

    Texas lies at the epicenter of the nation’s hydraulic fracturing – fracking – boom. What began in the Barnett Shale of North Texas 15 years ago has spread to the Eagle Ford Shale of South Texas and across the United States, to include regions unaccustomed to dealing with the fossil fuel industry. Until early 2014, the national media had paid little attention to the frenzy of drilling in the Eagle Ford, one of the most active shale plays in the world. It seemed the right place for us to explore a little-discussed yet critical aspect of the boom: toxic air emissions associated with wells, compressor stations and processing plants.
  • Green, Not So Green

    The AP spent 11 months examining the hidden environmental costs of the nation’s green-energy boom: undisclosed eagle deaths at wind farms; untracked loss of conservation lands and native prairies created by the ethanol mandate; and the government’s unadvertised support of more oil drilling with money to clean up coal-fired power plants. All energy has costs, and in the case of fossil fuels those costs have been well documented. But when it comes to green energy, the administration, the industry, and environmentalists don’t want to talk about. The AP series shows how the Obama administration has at times looked the other way and in other cases made environmental concessions for so-called green energy to make headway in its fight against global warming.
  • Panama: Dam Promises or Dam Lies?

    Panama is embracing its role as one of Latin America’s fastest growing economy by undertaking massive infrastructure projects, such as the expansion of the Panama Canal and a metro in Panama City. However, as these projects develop Panama is on the brink of exceeding their electricity capacity. To address the national crisis the country is investing in the Barro Blanco hydroelectric dam in Western Panama. The completion of the dam is expected to result in cheaper and more sustainable energy by reducing dependence on fossil fuels. However, not everybody is optimistic about the prospects of the dam. Standing in the way of the project is Panama’s largest indigenous group, the Ngäbe-Buglé. Even though the dam is not being built inside their semi-autonomous region, they say its reservoir threatens their way of life.
  • Buying the Election

    “Never Mind the Super PACs: How Big Business Is Buying the Election” investigates previously unreported ways that businesses have taken advantage of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, which overturned a century of campaign finance law and allowed corporations to spend directly on behalf of candidates. The piece debunks a common misperception that businesses have taken advantage of their new political spending powers primarily through so-called Super PACs. In fact, most Super PAC donations have come from extremely wealthy individuals, not corporations. The investigation shows how corporations have instead used a variety of 501(c) nonprofits, primarily 501(c)(6) “trade associations,” to direct substantial corporate money on federal elections. As one prominent advisor to GOP candidates as well as corporations points out, "many corporations will not risk running ads on their own," for fear of the reputational damage, but the trade groups make these ad buys nearly anonymous. In 2010, 501(c)(6) trade associations and 501(c)(4) issue-advocacy groups outspent Super PACs $141 million to $65 million. The investigation shows that the growth of trade association political spending has had a number of significant ramifications, such as increased leverage during beltway lobbying campaigns. Most troublingly, legal loopholes allow foreign interests to use trade associations to directly influence American elections. One of the most significant revelations in the piece was that the American Petroleum Institute, a trade association for the oil and gas industry, had funneled corporate cash to groups that had run hard-hitting campaign ads while being led in part by a lobbyist for the Saudi Arabian government, Tofiq Al-Gabsani. As an API board member, Al-Gabsani was part of the team that directed these efforts, which helped defeat candidates who supported legislation that would move American energy policy away from its focus on fossil fuels. Federal law prevents Al-Gabsani, as a foreign national, from leading a political action committee, or PAC. But nothing in the law stopped him from leading a trade group that made campaign expenditures just as a PAC would.
  • The David Rose Oil and Gas Fraud Investigation

    For years, David Rose ran a complex boiler room scam operation that collected millions of dollars from victim investors under the veneer of a fossil fuel extraction enterprise. No such drilling operations were underway, and the scam defrauded millions from victims only to fund Rose's personal ventures such as "Future Happiness, LLC," Rose's private collection of luxury vehicles. Perhaps the most shocking of all is the short 52 month sentence Rose will receive. WHAS-TV outlines the governments failure to adequately find and prosecute investor fraud schemes, especially while his sons appear to be reengaging parts of the business while sending their father $500,000 a year in "consulting fees." Official have yet to act on this news, but WHAS-TV hopes to educate future investors on criminal companies.
  • "The Climate Change Lobby"

    Multinational lobbyists, particularly business interests in fossil fuel energy production, have backlashed against government's expanded interest in deterring climate change. As decisive action on global warming increasingly takes center stage, the climate change lobby over the past six years has increased in numbers by 400 percent. "The Climate Change Lobby" explores how special interests have attempted to sway environmental policy in a time of important decisions on global environmental and economic sustainability.
  • The New Supertanker Plague

    Hundreds of oil-bearing ships have faced destruction in the form of "super rust," a virulent form of corrosion that is "the inevitable result when unforgiving chemistry meets the harsh economics and tangled industry politics of transporting fossil fuels." Wired Magazine examines the root causes of such "hyper-accelerated corrosion," and determines among other things that proper maintenance in re-coating the steel ships would effectively combat the problem. However, "first-class ship maintenance has become increasingly rare," as ships change hands frequently, and find themselves in the hands of owners who "tend to be less interested in maintaining their vessels than maximizing the return on their investments." The article details the scientific processes of corrosion, examines the recent history and challenges facing supertankers, and investigates where the industry -- and its aging ships -- might be headed.