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

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Search results for "fossil fuels" ...

  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • Nuclear Power May Rise Again: Optimism permeates the once-moribund industry that generates electricity from reactors. As atomic power grows more efficient and fossil fuels more costly, there is even talk of building more plants.

    According to the article, "Against all expectations, the power people said, the nuclear industry in the United States is in the midst of a renaissance. It has been rescued from the brink of extinction and made into a desirable business, so prosperous, in fact, that there has developed a vigorous market for used nuclear power plants. The price of these plants has increased a hundredfold in just three years."
  • A Modest Proposal To Stop Global Warming

    The Sierra Magazine looks at how "the world's nations squabble over a complex fix too timid to solve" the global warming problem, and concludes that heating the globe can be stopped "by calling an end to the Carbon Age." The story reports on the financial forecasts pertaining to global warming, and warns that "unchecked climate change could bankrupt the global economy by 2065." The author describes the steps that different countries have taken initiate a global energy transition, and to criticizes the unwillingness of the United States to "lead the world in addressing climate change." The reporter finds that "George w. Bush and Dick Cheney, oilmen both, are more inclined to protect the petroleum industry's short-term profitability than to promote its inevitable transformation."
  • (Untitled)

    The Star-Telegram reports that after several years of relatively pollution-free summers, the 1 - million-plus residents of the four county Fort Worth-Dallas area breathed the decade's dirtiest air in 1995. At the same time, the Legislature in Austin moved to weaken a strict auto-emissions plan that it had approved in response to warnings from the Environmental Protection Agency. (Nov., 1995)