Murdering Our Stars Podcast
The Permian Basin may be the largest methane-emitting oil and gas basin in the world. 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.
Meet Your Host: Miguel Escoto
Growing up in the border community of El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Miguel Escoto has been witness to how the climate crisis drives climate migration and the oppression of vulnerable communities. Miguel’s experience with community organizing comes from his work with Sunrise Movement El Paso, a youth-led environmentalist organization dedicated to transitioning the border region to clean energy while addressing systemic issues of injustice. He worked as a legal assistant to environmental attorney David Baake and his work for the Sierra Club. There, he learned about Permian fracking industry regulation and opposition from a New Mexico perspective. You can follow Miguel on Twitter and Instagram.
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.
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 go on a deep dive into the vast shortcomings of the regulatory system that allowed the Permian fracking boom to happen in the first place.
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.
Episode 4: Regulator Whistleblowing Part 2
Sheila Serna joined the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality fresh 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.
Episode 5: The Radioactive Crisis of Oil and Gas Waste
Most people know that oil and gas emits air pollution. But few people understand that these wells also produce radioactive waste. That’s right — radioactive. Melissa Troutman, 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.
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 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.
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 to 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.
Episode 8: Oilfield Workers for a Just Transition
John Beard, 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.
Defuse this Climate Bomb!
We must act now to stop the Permian Climate Bomb and save the planet for future generations.