The collaborative environmental health project “Big Oil, Bad Air” between the Center, InsideClimate News and the Weather Channel has won the 2015 National Association of Science Writers (NASW) Science in Society Award in the Longform category. This is the fifth first-place award for the project in a national journalism contest.
The almost two-year investigative series examined hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the Eagle Ford Shale of South Texas and how it has generated billions of dollars for oil companies all while endangering public health. Since the series, a new air monitor was installed in one of the heaviest drilling areas.
Judges said the series was "an extraordinary accomplishment in team investigative science journalism targeted at a crucial energy, environment and health issue that extends well beyond the boundaries of Texas, the project's focus. The reporters set out to get to the bottom of a corrupt regulatory system involving the fracking boom. They found no bottom."
They also noted, “Several new media outlets teamed to deliver the kind of broad-shouldered, crusading doggedness in exposing public malfeasance that once was the near-exclusive province of big metropolitan newspapers."