Show cover of Murdering Our Stars

Murdering Our Stars

The Permian Basin may be the world's largest methane-emitting oil and gas basin. No one knows this oilfield like the Texas Field Team at Earthworks. In a special 8-part series podcast, through conversations with whistleblowers, thermographers, impacted community members, former oil workers, and other experts, you'll get up close and personal with this global threat brewing in Texas — a phenomenon so powerful it murders stars.


Episode 8: Oilfield Workers for a Just Transition
John Beard Jr., founder and president of the Port Arthur Community Action Network, worked at Exxon for 38 years. As a community advocate focusing on environmental issues and community development today, John knows firsthand the important intersection of environmental justice and labor justice. Transcript and show notes:
38:36 5/19/23
Episode 7: Plugging Wells to Save the Planet
The United States could have more than 3.2 million orphaned and abandoned wells that cause huge impacts on the environment. For ranchers and landowners like Schuyler Wight, this poses a significant threat to livelihoods. According to Megan Biven, it’s an opportunity to turn this emergency into a much-needed, water-saving climate jobs program, which turns oil and gas workers into national environmental heroes. Transcript and show notes:
50:30 5/19/23
Episode 6: The Lotus LLC Saga
A lot more than oil and gas comes to the surface at an oil and gas well. We’re joined by Justin Nobel, who has written a series of explosive features examining radioactive oilfield waste for the environmental investigative site DeSmog, and whose 2020 feature with Rolling Stone magazine, “America’s Radioactive Secret,” was the result of a two-year investigation into the radioactivity brought to the surface in oil and gas production and the harms posed to the industry’s workers, the public and communities, and the environment. Transcript and show notes:
44:17 5/19/23
Episode 5: The Radioactive Crisis of Oil and Gas Waste
Most people know that oil and gas emit air pollution. But few people understand that these wells also produce radioactive waste. That’s right — radioactive. Melissa Troutman, the co-founder of the investigative news nonprofit Public Herald and co-director of three documentary films between 2013-2020, tells us why the climate threat of oil and gas is not bad enough. Transcript and show notes:
50:27 5/19/23
Episode 4: Regulator Whistleblowing (Part 2)
Sheila Serna joined the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) right out of college because it seemed like an opportunity to be a part of something that could actually make a difference. Within months of being there and learning what air regulations look like, however, she began to question why more violations weren’t given to more operators. Transcript and show notes:
27:53 5/19/23
Episode 3: Regulator Whistleblowing (Part 1)
Tim Doty worked at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for nearly three decades because he believed in the agency's mission to protect Texans’ public health and natural resources. But he retired after it became increasingly clear that the agency’s leadership had little to no interest in proactively monitoring, documenting, and minimizing air emissions in Texas. Transcript and show notes:
40:44 5/19/23
Episode 2: Loophole Extravaganza
The state agency that is supposed to protect public health and natural resources in Texas is broken, putting fossil fuel profits above people. The Texas Field Team at Earthworks goes on a deep dive into the vast shortcomings of the regulatory system that allowed the Permian fracking boom to happen in the first place. Transcript and show notes:
65:06 5/19/23
Episode 1: Welcome to Methane Land
The Permian Basin oilfield in West Texas is destroying the climate. The Texas Field Team at Earthworks document oil and gas emissions with technology that makes pollution invisible to the naked eye visible. Transcript and show notes:
43:31 5/19/23
Earthworks’ Texas Field team visit the Permian Basin in West Texas--America’s fracking epicenter--to document emissions from oil and gas. With on-the-ground audio footage, immerse yourself in the trenches of the oilfields; learn about the policy landscape in Texas which allows for the fracking boom to continue well into the Biden era; and listen to field notes of the world’s most dangerous shale for the climate. In this 8-part journey, you will learn about oil and gas pollution loopholes, the radioactive waste crisis it creates, its health impacts, and how we transition away from fossil fuels and towards a just economy based on clean renewable energy.
02:24 5/18/23