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A true-crime podcast about climate change, hosted and reported by award-winning investigative journalist Amy Westervelt.


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Drilled + Earther Present: The ABCs of Big Oil

In this collaboration with Earther, we look at the fossil fuel industry's influence in school?not just in shaping our understanding of environmental problems, but also in narrowing the spectrum of solutions we're allowed to consider. Earther reporter Dharna Noor co-hosts, and we'll be bringing you a four-part series over the next several weeks. Subscribe so you won't miss it! And make sure to check out the Earther site for complementary posts and web bonuses.
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S6 Part 1 | Plastic Pipelines | Ep 5: Whack-a-Mole

In the final episode of part 1 in our Bridge to Nowhere season, we look at the chronic whack-a-mole problem in frontline communities. Just as one facility gets shut down or cleaned up, another is waiting to take its place. In a lot of ways, the plastic problem itself is a whack-a-mole issue catalyzed by progress in shifting away from fossil fuels in the transport and building sectors. How can policy makers and activists predict and prevent these sorts of problems?
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S6 Part 1 | Plastic Pipelines | Ep 4: Keeping Oil Alive

The team at UnEarthed, an investigative journalism project funded by Greenpeace in the UK, went undercover and got ExxonMobil execs on tape talking through the company's climate playbook in detail. Today, an unpublished part of that report, in which a former Exxon lobbyist details the company's and the industry's plans on plastics. More from UnEarthed: Watch the ExxonMobil video: Read the story:
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S6 Part 1 | Plastic Pipelines | Ep 3: And Then There Was Covid...

Just as the fossil fuel industry was starting to worry about demand for single use plastics, along comes a global pandemic that they could leverage to push more of the stuff. And they did! But was it enough to save them entirely?
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S6 Part 1 | Plastic Pipelines | Ep2: Erasing the Imaginary Line

Diane Wilson couldn't keep Formosa out of her town, but down the coast in Louisiana the community in St. James Parish, led by Sharon Lavigne, is fighting like hell to keep them out.
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S6 Part 1 | Plastic Pipelines | Ep 1: Don't Mess with Texas

This time we're doing something a little different: a season in three parts, all about the gas industry and how it's managed to embed itself into society. First up, Part 1 Plastic Pipelines: A look at how the fracking boom led to a plastics boom, through the story of one petrochemical company operating on the Gulf Coast, and the two women?one in Texas, the other in Louisiana?taking them on.
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Welcome to S6: The Bridge to Nowhere

A new season about the natural gas industry, presented in three parts. Coming soon, Part 1: Pipelines to Plastic about the direct connection between the fracking boom and the plastics boom, told through the story of Formosa Plastics, a company with an environmental record so bad it couldn't get permits in its own country so it searched the globe for a new home, with weaker environmental regulations, and found it in the American South.
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Update: Donziger's Trial in New York

Steven Donziger went to trial for the criminal contempt charge that's kept him on house arrest for 600 days and counting. Paul Paz Y Mino of Amazon Watch brings us an update on the trial
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Climate Guilt, Brought to You by Big Oil

A new study from Harvard science historians Naomi Oreskes and Geoffrey Supran points to the use of language targeted specifically to downplay the reality of climate change and shift responsibility entirely onto consumers. Geoffrey Supran, the lead author on the study, joins to discuss. Study: Read more:
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New Study: The Health Impacts of the Coal-to-Gas Transition

A new study out from Harvard University explores the health impacts of transitioning from coal to other combustible fuels. The findings are important for climate policy, particularly the fact that biomass is a huge contributor to air pollution despite representing only a small percentage of energy generation and that natural gas still contributes significantly to air pollution and its associated health impacts.
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Rep Ro Khanna on Fossil Fuel Subsidies

It's Earth Day 2021 and the first Congressional hearing of the day is focused on fossil fuel subsidies. Their elimination was written into Biden's infrastructure bill, and House Democrats want to make sure that provision stays in the bill. Today's hearing will detail what those subsidies are, why getting rid of them is critical to climate action, and how the government can pull it off without raising the cost of living for average Americans. Watch the hearing at 10am ET:
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S5 Update: Latest on Donziger's Case

Steven Donziger, the American attorney we profiled in S5 is scheduled for trial May 10th, but his lawyers have filed another motion to dismiss, alleging vindictive prosecution. Karen Savage joins for an update on this story.
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Corporate Personhood? What About Ecosystem Personhood

We talked about rights of nature a bit in the Ecuador-Chevron season, the Latin American country was the first in the world to integrate the concept of rights of nature in its Constitution. Now the Constitutional Court is reviewing its first rights of nature case. U.S. communities are pursuing the idea as well, and the fossil fuel industry is trying to block rights of nature laws from ever passing. Josh Boaz Pribanic and Melissa Troutman, co-founders of Public Herald join to talk about their new documentary on the rights of nature, Invisible Hand. Check out Invisible Hand:
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Infrastructure Week! Build Back Better, THRIVE, and More with Kaniela Ing

The Biden Administration has rolled out its Build Back Better plan and it includes a lot of progressive wishlist items, but the left is still pushing for more scale. The THRIVE Act, reintroduced by Sen Markey and Rep Dingell last month is what they're pushing towards and Peoples Action Climate Justice director Kaniela Ing joins to walk us through the asks, and what he's hearing from folks on the ground. Learn more:
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All Eyes on Weymouth as FERC Signals Interest in Environmental Justice

Local activists and legislators have been fighting the Enbridge natural gas compressor in Weymouth for years. It's too close to residents and businesses, and poses too many health risks to a community that's already borne the burden of too much pollution, they say. The project was approved by FERC in 2019, built and became operational in 2020. Then it had an emergency shutdown. And another. Now FERC is considering the unprecedented move of re-thinking its permit, a decision that could have broad ramifications. Check out Miriam Wasser's ongoing reporting on this at WBUR:
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How the Fossil Fuel Industry Is Undermining Free Speech

Fossil fuel-backed anti-protest laws have been passed in 14 states and are making their way through statehouses in several more states, including six different bills in Minnesota, the only state with a big pipeline fight this year: Line 3. Researcher Connor Gibson joins to talk us through how this all started and where it's at. Read more:
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Frackalachia and the Great Fracking Jobs Myth

When a report makes oil and gas companies?and the politicians they help elect?this mad, you know the author is on to something. Researcher Sean O'Leary, with the Ohio River Valley Institute, joins us to talk about his new report, which found that the local economic benefit of fracking to communities in the Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia gas corridor was slim to none.
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Presenting: Hot Take ? Blood for Oil, with Antonia Juhasz

A special presentation of the podcast Hot Take, featuring investigative journalist Antonia Juhasz on all the many ways oil, war, and climate change intersect. Read more: Subscribe to the Hot Take newsletter:
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The API Was Pushing Climate Denial Way Earlier Than Anyone Thought

Stanford researcher Ben Franta joins to talk about a bombshell new discovery: the American Petroleum Institute not only knew about climate change back in the 70s, it started pushing climate denial as early as 1980. Read Ben's article:
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S5 Ep 11 | ¿Ahora Que?

Donziger is still on house arrest and disbarred, the settlement seems impossible to collect, now what? In this episode we look at what this case says about accountability and the power of oil companies, and what options remain for the Ecuadorians seeking justice. Support our work:
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S5 Ep 10 | The Kill Step

Chevron makes good on its promise to fight the Ecuadorian judgement until hell freezes over ... and then fight it out on the ice. Donziger loses his appeal of the RICO judgement, then finds himself facing contempt charges and disbarment.
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S5 Ep9 | The Judge

Corruption charges against both the Ecuadorian judge and the American judge fly as the RICO gets underway. Support our work:
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S5 Ep 8 | Damages

Chevron's legal team shocks the Ecuadorian plaintiffs with a massive racketeering claim in the U.S. alleging fraud, witness tampering, and even bribery. Patreon:
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S5 Ep7 | The Linchpin

Chevron's attorneys go after Joe Berlinger, the filmmaker behind the documentary about the case, Crude. They subpoena his outtakes, kicking off a years-long First Amendment battle. Support our work:
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Big Oil's Bad Bet on Plastic

A new report from Carbon Tracker finds that the fossil fuel industry is pinning its hopes on a plastic boom?and try as it might to spur that demand, it's just not materializing. Report author Kingsmill Bond joins us to discuss. Read the full report here:
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Update: Donziger Headed to Trial with No Representation

New York District Court Judge Loretta Preska has denied repeated requests to delay Donziger's criminal contempt trial until at least one of his lawyers can be present. Barring any last-minute changes, he'll stand trial Monday, November 9th, after which he could be sent to jail for six months. In this ep, reporter Karen Savage brings us the latest and we hear from attorneys Lauren Regan and Ronald Kuby about what sort of precedent this sets.
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S5 Ep6 | A Verdict and a New Charge

The case takes a bizarre turn with a sting operation, U.S. subpoenas, accusations of fraud and bribery, and finally a verdict in Ecuador.
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S5 Ep5 | The Big Guns

With the Ecuadorian plaintiffs racking up good press and an endorsement from the country's president, Chevron kicks things up a notch, bringing on new lawyers and PR firms to tell a very different story. Support our work:
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Special Episode: Generation Green New Deal

In this episode of Generation Green New Deal, Drilled host Amy Westervelt co-hosts with Sam Eilertsen to look at what happened to block climate action in the 90s and and 2000s, why various fossil fuel industry strategies worked at the time, and what makes the youth climate movement's approach different and more effective. Check out Generation Green New Deal wherever you get your pods!
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S5 Ep4 | The Secret Tribunal

In September 2009, Chevron filed an international arbitration claim against the government of Ecuador over the Lago Agrio case. In the years since the company has pointed to the decisions of that arbitral panel as something akin to court decisions, but they're not?arbitral tribunals exist to help companies protect their profits, and are largely conducted in secret. This system has been quietly shaping environmental and climate policy for years. In this episode, expert Marcos Orellana walks us through this shadowy system, this case in particular, and what it all means for global climate action. Support our work:
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S5 Ep3 | The Trial

The trial gets underway in Ecuador, an election changes the calculus, and a global PR war kicks into high gear. Support our work:
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S5 Ep2 | The Colonizers

How did this case come about in the first place? We go back to the early days of oil colonialism in Ecuador, in the 1960s, the partnership between oil men and missionaries, and the impact on indigenous communities in the Amazon. Support our work: Read more:
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S5 Ep1 | Lockdown

In August 2019, an American lawyer was put on house arrest as he awaited trial on criminal contempt charges. The charges stem from a decades-long case that began with pollution in the Amazon and has since spanned continents and courtrooms while the victims?indigenous tribes in the Ecuadorian Amazon?continue to seek justice. Welcome to Season 5: La Lucha En La Jungla.
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Climate Podcast Bonanza!

In addition to S5 of Drilled (coming soon!), Critical Frequency is putting out a terrific slate of great climate and environment podcasts this fall. Check out this sampling, then go subscribe so you won't miss them! Inherited: Hot Take: Generation Green New Deal: Hazard: No Place Like Home:
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Big Oil Fighting Divestment + Sneak Preview of S5!

A few weeks ago the Trump administration quietly proposed a rule that would make it harder for financial managers to investment retirement funds in environmentally or socially responsible ways. The fossil fuel industry had been calling for the rule and praised it, noting that the divestment movement has become a serious problem and reduced its access to capital. Journalist David Sirota broke that story and joins us to explain. PLUS: a sneak peek of S5. Check out David's newsletter: Subscribe to Drilled now to get early access to episodes!
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That Ohio Utility Corruption Scandal, with Leah Stokes

The FBI arrested Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives, Larry Householder, this month for racketeering, or as the state attorney general put it "bribery, that's what it was." Private utility First Energy bribed Householder and a handful of other state politicians to pass a corporate bailout that kept coal and nuclear plants open and crushed renewables. UC Santa Barbara political science professor Leah Stokes, author of the book Short Circuiting Policy, joins to tell us all about it. Leah's book:
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California City

What if you were told buying a piece of land in the Mojave Desert could help you be rich one day? That was the dream developers of California City sold to thousands of people. But the reality is much different. California City ? the new podcast from LA-ist Studios ? chronicles the dark side of the American Dream, where those thousands of people were left with land that is nearly worthless.
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A Proposed Fossil Fuel Ad Ban in The Netherlands

An advocacy group in The Netherlands began campaigning for a ban on fossil fuel ads, including event sponsorships, earlier this year. Campaigner Femke Sleegers joins us to explain the roots of the campaign, its goal, and the initial response to it. More information: 
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Pioneering Fracking Company Chesapeake Energy Goes Bust

Despite tax breaks, royalty cuts, and other COVID-related incentives, Chesapeake Energy?a pioneer in the American shale gas (fracking) industry?declared bankruptcy this week. It's the first example of what we expect to be many of the government throwing good money after bad in attempts to use COVID relief funds to shore up companies that were failing long before the pandemic hit. Patreon:
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Minnesota and D.C. File Climate Fraud Suits

Two big new suits, in Minnesota and D.C., were filed within 24 hours of each other and allege the same thing: that fossil fuel companies misled consumers about climate change.
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Big Oil's Multi-Billion-Dollar Blind Spot

A new report from Carbon Tracker finds that not only have oil and gas companies not been budgeting for plugging and abandoning wells, they've been grossly underestimating the cost of that work, especially for fracking wells. The COVID-19 pandemic has only highlighted the problem. Report co-authors Rob Schuwerk and Greg Rogers join to talk about the size of the problem, the cost, and who will ultimately pay. Report: Support us:
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Yes, It's Still Time to Talk About Climate (from Hot Take)

Amid nationwide Black Lives Matter protests, some climate activists have been saying "now's not the time to talk about climate." In this episode we bring you an encore presentation of the latest Hot Take episode, in which Amy and Mary Annaise Heglar talk about how justice is justice; the idea that climate and racial justice are all the same thing, and can't be separated. To access the full-length episode, and weekly roundups of climate justice and accountability writing, reporting and analysis, please consider becoming a Hot Take premium subscriber:
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Naomi Klein and How the Shock Doctrine Applies to America Right Now

Naomi Klein's book The Shock Doctrine focused on what she calls "disaster capitalism," the sort of corporate feeding frenzy that happens in the wake of major crises. It was on a research trip for that book, to post-Katrina New Orleans, that she connected her work on human rights and labor to climate. Klein shares that journey here, explains the Green New Deal, and talks about what needs to happen to spur a justice-focused transformation in the U.S. You can find Naomi's many great books here: Support us:
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What Shell Knew: A Surprising Report from The Netherlands Finds that Shell Was Directly Funding Climate Denial in the 1990s

Reporters Alexander Beunder and Jilles Mast have been combing through 150+ boxes of documents from the personal archive of one of the Netherlands' top climate skeptics during the 1990s, a guy named Fritz Böttcher, and made a shocking discovery: throughout his career Böttcher received direct funding from Royal Dutch Shell. It's part of a large project called the Shell Papers at the Platform for Authentic Journalism, in the Netherlands. Read more: Shell Papers: Shorter summary of Böttcher report:
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No, Climate Action Will Not Be "Just Like Quarantine Only Worse" ? Why Letting Go of the Climate Narrative Never Works, a Special Bonus Ep from Hot Take

Last week, The New York Times ran a story on the GOP's favorite new climate narrative: If you think quarantine is bad, just wait til the Dems impose climate action on you. In this special ep from Hot Take, with Mary Annaise Heglar and Amy Westervelt, we look at how that narrative came about, why it's striking a nerve, and how to wrestle the climate story back. Subscribe to Hot Take: Listen to Hot Take:
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The Climate Deniers Have Lost Their King, and Still They Soldier On

In April 2020, Fred Singer, longtime king of the climate deniers, died at the age of 95. In this episode, investigative reporter Dan Zegart, author of the book Civil Warriors, about the 1990s tobacco litigation, joins to talk about Singer's place in the history of science denial. Connor Gibson, an investigator with Greenpeace also joins to talk about the climate denial machine Singer built, the legacy he leaves behind, and whether the COVID-19 pandemic may topple science denial and fake free marketeering forever. Singer obituary: Support our work:
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The U.S. Government Has Been Rubber-Stamping New Oil and Gas Projects?This Lawsuit Hopes to Change That

A lawsuit filed against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) over a small project in Massachusetts could have big implications. It aims to force FERC to comply with an order the courts gave it back in 2017, and that it's been ignoring ever since: to evaluate the overall emissions and climate change impact of any new energy project. The case has particular relevance right now as FERC has been rapidly approving every project that crosses its desk. Adam Carlesco, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, joins to walk us through the case. Support our work:
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Old and Wrong: Leah Stokes on the Many Flaws of Michael Moore's Planet of The Humans

Political scientist and environmental policy expert Leah Stokes joins us to discuss the many things the new film Planet of the Humans gets wrong about renewable energy, environmentalists and the fight for climate action. Related stories: Support our work:
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Earth Day in Louisiana: A Petro-state Fights Back

On the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and the week of the 10-year anniversary of the BP Deepwater oil spill, we head to Louisiana to talk petrochemicals, petroleum, plastic, fossil fueled philanthropy, and how the pandemic is affecting it all. Fossil-Free Fest: Bucket Brigade: Healthy Gulf: Support us:
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Computer-Aided Destruction: Art, Autodesk, and What Accountability Looks Like for the Tech Industry

French artist Joanie Lemercier has been a thorn in Autodesk's side for more than a year now, since he first pointed out that the California software company's computer-aided drafting (CAD) software keeps Europe's largest coal mine operating. Tech reporter Maddie Stone started looking into it, and found that Autodesk software is used by not only coal mines but also to design oil and gas pipelines, and for all sorts of other extractive purposes. It's a window into a broader discussion around climate accountability and tech these days that asks the question: how do we hold tech companies responsible for the damage their products might do? Read the feature here: Support our work:
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