Inside Story: Rural reporter turns routine permit into award-winning investigation

Read the full story from the Society of Environmental Journalists.

Angus Thuermer Jr. is no stranger to the pages of Inside Story, having appeared in mid-2020 to discuss his outstanding small market beat reporting for coverage of water law, gas wells, unlined pits and chronic wasting disease for This time around, Thuermer discusses coverage that challenged assumptions about oil field pollutants, winning him a second-place prize for outstanding investigative reporting (small newsroom or circulation) at the Society of Environmental Journalists’ 2020 Annual Awards for Reporting on the Environment.

SEJ’s judges lauded Thuermer, who they said “dug deeply into what might have been a routine state permit for dumping oil field waste into protected waters [and] tracked how regulators’ jargon hid acceptance of flawed industry assurances and the likelihood of degraded water quality.” The stories stirred public opposition, and ultimately EPA criticism forced the state to withdraw the permit. SEJournal Online followed up with him for a new conversation about his award-winning work.

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