For Inside Energy. Aired on KUNC October 6th, 2016 and on The Texas Standard October 13th, 2016.
Researchers nationwide are starting to take a closer look at how air emissions from oil and gas development affect public health. One worrying kind of pollution is ozone, which can harm people and the environment. Children with asthma are especially vulnerable.
If you work, what happens if you don’t get paid? That’s the situation for countless workers across Colorado and the United States.
During my time at Rocky Mountain PBS I-News, I researched and wrote about enforcement of state and federal wage and hour laws in Colorado. It’s an important issue and happens probably more often, and in more industries, than you think.
This series led to proposed legislation in 2016 to improve transparency of Colorado wage law violations and a state investigation into three construction contractors. It also helped recover lost wages for two gas station workers. The stories became required reading in a University of Denver class.
Here are the stories in print, with accompanying audio versions:
“Judges’ comments: “Delinquent Mines” used innovative data analysis to find that 2,700 American coal and mineral mining companies had failed to pay nearly $70 million in delinquent mine safety penalties for years or even decades. These mining companies operated more than 4,000 mines and while they were delinquent, committed 131,000 violations, exposing a loophole in federal regulation and enforcement that places miners at risk. The collaboration found human stories to illustrate the data, from anguished families whose relatives were killed in mining accidents to one billionaire owner whose mines had large unpaid fines. The stories led the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration to cite a major delinquent mining company for failure to pay its fines and then shut down the mine when the operator failed to meet a deadline for payment. The agency also said it was considering an “early warning system” for delinquent mines so that it could begin court action against them sooner.”
“Karan Ireland thought she was well-informed, until she discovered a strange smell that changed her life.”
After a mad dash to find Karan and an all-nighter in an iHop, I was extremely honored to win the second annual Radio Race from KCRW’s Independent Producer Project with my story, “You should know what’s right next door.”
What’s this Radio Race you speak of? From the producers:
140 teams from all around the world took up our challenge to produce an artful and compelling 4-minute audio piece in one mad-dash, energy-drink-swigging 24 hour period. The result was an explosion of creative radio storytelling. Our KCRW judges narrowed down the pieces to a final 10. Then the final 3 were chosen by our esteemed panel of celebrity judges: Alix Spiegel of NPR, radio educator Rob Rosenthal, producer of the How Sound podcast, and Eleanor McDowall producer of the Short Cuts podcast from BBC Radio 4.
NPR combed through federal data and found the Columbia Gulf Transmission pipeline had 26 incidents in the past 10 years, ranging from costly leaks and broken equipment to an explosion on a corroded 1950s-era pipe that killed a man and injured another.
He once picked fruit as a teenager in California. Now, middle-aged, Garrido just bought a new tractor. He remembers when it was delivered to his day job at an autobody shop. When Garrido went out to sign for the vehicle, his boss looked shocked.
“You’re the one who bought the tractor?” he asked.