Elizabeth Shogren

Elizabeth Shogren is an NPR News Science Desk correspondent focused on covering environment and energy issues and news.

Since she came to NPR in 2005, Shogren's reporting has covered everything from the damage caused by the BP oil spill on the ecology of the Gulf Coast, to the persistence of industrial toxic air pollution as seen by the legacy of Tonawanda Coke near Buffalo, to the impact of climate change on American icons like grizzly bears.

Prior to NPR, Shogren spent 14 years as a reporter on a variety of beats at The Los Angeles Times, including four years reporting on environmental issues in Washington, D.C., and across the country. While working from the paper's Washington bureau, from 1993-2000, Shogren covered the White House, Congress, social policy, money and politics, and presidential campaigns. During that time, Shogren was given the opportunity to travel abroad on short-term foreign reporting assignments, including the Kosovo crisis in 1999, the Bosnian war in 1996, and Russian elections in 1993 and 1996. Before joining the Washington bureau, Shogren was based in Moscow where she covered the breakup of the Soviet Union and the rise of democracy in Russia for the newspaper.

Beginning in 1988, Shogren worked as a freelance reporter based in Moscow, publishing in a variety of newspapers and magazines, including Newsweek, The Dallas Morning News, the San Francisco Chronicle, and The Washington Post. During that time, she covered the fall of the Berlin Wall and the peaceful revolution in Prague.

Shogren's career in journalism began in the wire services. She worked for the Associated Press in Chicago and at United Press International in Albany, NY.

Throughout Shogren's career she has received numerous awards and honors including as a finalist for the 2011 Goldsmith Prize for investigative reporting, the National Wildlife Federation National Conservation Achievement Award, the Meade Prize for coverage of air pollution and she was an IRE finalist. She is a member of Sigma Delta Chi and the Society of Professional Journalist.

After earning a Bachelor of Arts in Russian studies at the University of Virginia, Shogren went on to receive a Master of Science in journalism from Columbia University.

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The Two-Way
4:15 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

EPA Building Named For Bill Clinton; He Says That's Fitting

Former President Bill Clinton hugs House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California as another Democrat, Sen. Barbara Boxer of California, looks on at Wednesday's ceremony naming the Environmental Protection Agency headquarters for him.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Wed July 17, 2013 5:11 pm

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Poisoned Places: Toxic Air, Neglected Communities
3:54 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Baton Rouge's Corroded, Overpolluting Neighbor: Exxon Mobil

An evening view of the Exxon Mobil oil refinery complex in Baton Rouge, La.
John W. Poole NPR

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 7:50 am

If you stand in front of Almena and Sidney Poray's house in Baton Rouge, La., and look straight down the street, past the other houses and the shade trees, you see more than a dozen plumes of exhaust in various hues of gray and white.

"That's something you see every day, the same thing if not more," says Almena Poray. "Sometimes it's a darker gray; sometimes it's a black smoke coming out."

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Environment
1:16 am
Fri May 10, 2013

College Divestment Campaigns Creating Passionate Environmentalists

Students associated with the group Brown Divest Coal protested in front of the Brown University president's office during a rally May 3. The group is demanding that the university stop investing in certain oil and coal companies.
Courtesy of Brown Divest Coal

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 9:04 am

At about 300 colleges across the country, young activists worried about climate change are borrowing a strategy that students successfully used in decades past. In the 1980s, students enraged about South Africa's racist Apartheid regime got their schools to drop stocks in companies that did business with that government. In the 1990s, students pressured their schools to divest Big Tobacco.

This time, the student activists are targeting a mainstay of the economy: large oil and coal companies.

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Energy
4:05 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Tar Sands Pipelines Should Be Held To Different Standards, EPA Says

An oil sheen appears along the shore of the Kalamazoo River in August 2012. In July 2010, more than 800,000 gallons of tar sands oil entered Talmadge Creek and flowed into the Kalamazoo River, a Lake Michigan tributary. Heavy rains caused the river to overtop existing dams and carried oil 30 miles downstream.
John W. Poole NPR

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 2:57 pm

Up until now, pipelines that carry tar sands oil have been treated just like pipelines that carry any other oil. But the Environmental Protection Agency now says that should change. That's because when tar sands oil spills, it can be next to impossible to clean up.

The agency made this argument in its evaluation of the State Department's environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline project, which, if approved, would carry heavy crude from Alberta, Canada, to refineries in the United States.

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Animals
12:56 am
Wed April 17, 2013

Lionfish Attacking Atlantic Ocean Like A Living Oil Spill

Lionfish, like this one spotted in the Bahamas, are a nonnative predatory fish that can decimate native fish populations.
Cammy Clark MCT/Landov

Originally published on Thu April 18, 2013 11:45 am

A gluttonous predator is power-eating its way through reefs from New York to Venezuela. It's the lionfish.

And although researchers are coming up with new ways to protect some reefs from the flamboyant maroon-striped fish, they have no hope of stopping its unparalleled invasion.

Lad Akins has scuba dived in the vibrant reefs of the Bahamas for many years. But when he returned a couple years ago, he saw almost no fish smaller than his hand.

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Environment
3:11 am
Thu April 4, 2013

Arkansas Oil Spill Sheds Light On Aging Pipeline System

A worker cleans up oil in Mayflower, Ark., on Monday, days after a pipeline ruptured and spewed oil over lawns and roadways.
Jeannie Nuss AP

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 8:45 am

Amber Bartlett was waiting last Friday for her kids to come home from school. One of them called from the entrance to the upscale subdivision near Little Rock, Ark., to tell her the community was being evacuated because of an oil spill. Bartlett was amazed by what she saw out her front door.

"I mean, just rolling oil. I mean, it was like a river," she says. "It had little waves in it."

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Environment
10:52 pm
Sun March 3, 2013

After Keystone Review, Environmentalists Vow To Continue Fight

Demonstrators carry a mock pipeline as they pass the White House to protest the Keystone Pipeline, in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 18, 2012.
Rod Lamkey Jr. The Washington Times /Landov

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 12:33 pm

Environmentalists have a hope.

If they can block the Keystone XL pipeline, they can keep Canada from developing more of its dirty tar sands oil. It takes a lot of energy to get it out of the ground and turn it into gasoline, so it has a bigger greenhouse gas footprint than conventional oil.

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Energy
3:01 pm
Fri March 1, 2013

State Department Finds No Major Objections To Keystone XL Pipeline Proposal

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 6:01 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. We've reported a lot on the fight over the Keystone XL pipeline. It would carry oil from the tar sands of Canada all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico. And today, there's a development in this story. The State Department has released a new analysis of environmental impacts of the pipeline.

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Environment
3:19 am
Mon February 18, 2013

Protesters Call On Obama To Reject Keystone XL Pipeline

Dr. J. William Hirzy, a chemistry professor at American Universiy, rests outside the rally route with a graph he uses to teach his students about the relationship between atmospheric carbon dioxide and global temperature.
Daniel M.N. Turner NPR

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 2:33 pm

Tens of thousands of protesters turned out on the National Mall Sunday to encourage President Obama to make good on his commitment to act on climate change.

In his Inaugural address from outside the U.S. Capitol, the president said: "We will respond to the threat of climate change knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations."

Just a few weeks later, next to the Washington Monument, Paul Birkeland was one of a couple dozen people holding a long white tube above their heads.

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Energy
3:17 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Outgoing Energy Secretary Warns Of Dangers Of Climate Change

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 5:17 pm

Secretary Chu is a Nobel Prize-winning physicist who came into office with high hopes. He was selected to help the president pursue his green energy agenda and fight climate change. It turned out to be a rocky road. Some of the green companies that got big government loans, like Solyndra, ended up going bankrupt, and the president had to drop his plans to get Congress to adopt climate change legislation. Still Chu helped the country make progress in becoming more energy efficient.

Environment
3:52 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

In Second Inaugural, Obama Makes Climate A Priority

"We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations," President Obama said Monday during his second inaugural address.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 6:48 pm

President Obama pulled out a surprise in his inaugural address on Monday. After barely mentioning climate change in his campaign, he put it on his short list of priorities for his second term.

"We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations," he said. Today the White House had scant detail on what the president plans to do.

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Environment
5:15 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

Understanding Climate Change, With Help From Thoreau

Researchers in Massachusetts and Wisconsin are comparing modern flower blooming data with notes made by Henry David Thoreau and Aldo Leopold. The sight of irises blooming during a Boston winter helped spur the research.
Darlyne A. Murawski Getty Images/National Geographic Creative

Originally published on Fri January 18, 2013 10:35 am

Modern scientists trying to understand climate change are engaged in an unlikely collaboration — with two beloved but long-dead nature writers: Henry David Thoreau and Aldo Leopold.

The authors of Walden and A Sand County Almanac and last spring's bizarrely warm weather have helped today's scientists understand that the first flowers of spring can continue to bloom earlier, as temperatures rise to unprecedented levels.

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Energy
4:31 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

Coal Loses Crown As King Of Power Generation

Georgia Power's coal-fired steam-turbine electric generating Plant Bowen in Euharlee, Ga., seen in 2009. The utility is planning on shuttering 15 coal- and oil-fired generating units at its facilities.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Just a few years ago, Georgia Power generated nearly three-fourths of its electricity with coal. Last year, for the first time, natural gas edged out coal, and just this week the company announced plans to close 10 coal-fired power generators within the next few years.

"We do recognize this is a historic event for our company. We've never announced this many closings at one time," says Mark Williams, a company spokesperson.

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Environment
4:43 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Deep In Canadian Lakes, Signs Of Tar Sands Pollution

The Shell Oil Jackpine open pit mine uses trucks that are 3 stories tall, weigh 1 million pounds and cost $7 million each. There is explosive growth in the oil field areas around Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada.
The Washington Post/Getty Images

Canadian researchers have used the mud at the bottom of lakes like a time machine to show that tar sands oil production in Alberta, Canada, is polluting remote regional lakes as far as 50 miles from the operations.

An increasingly large share of U.S. oil comes from Canada's tar sands. There are environmental consequences of this development, but until recently, Canadian regional and federal governments left it to the industry to monitor these effects.

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Business
2:52 pm
Fri January 4, 2013

Electric Companies Surprising Winners In New Tax Package

Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 5:02 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. The new last-minute tax deal cobbled together by Congress and the White House has produced at least one surprise winner, electric companies. That's because the two sides agreed not to increase the taxes that most people pay on dividends. NPR's Elizabeth Shogren explains why that is welcome news to the electricity business.

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Energy
2:41 am
Fri January 4, 2013

Budget Deal Provides Tax Brakes For Green Energy

Ruben Fragoso checks out appliances at Best Buy in Miami in April 2010, when Florida residents were taking advantage of a federally funded discount for Energy Star-rated appliances. Legislation just passed by Congress as part of the fiscal-cliff deal includes tax breaks for energy-efficient appliances.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 10:27 am

Whether you're a homeowner who bought an energy-saving refrigerator last year or a company hoping to build a wind farm, the tax package Congress just approved may give you a reason to cheer.

"It's got something in there, a Christmas gift if you will, for almost everyone — American homeowners, workers who commute via transit, and manufacturers of efficient equipment like clothes washers, dryers, refrigerators," says Kateri Callahan, president of the Alliance to Save Energy.

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Animals
8:29 am
Wed December 12, 2012

Scientists Mourn Popular Wolf Shot By A Hunter

The Lamar Canyon pack's alpha female (right) was shot and killed by a hunter on Dec. 6.
Courtesy of Doug McLaughlin

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 12:34 pm

The most popular wolf in Yellowstone National Park was shot by a hunter last week, a big blow to scientists and many wildlife enthusiasts who loved following her story.

"She was very recognizable, and she was unique and everybody knew her," says biologist Douglas Smith.

The animal known as 832F had a beautiful gray coat and was the alpha female of the Lamar Canyon pack. Smith has followed this wolf for years but only got to put a tracking collar on her in February.

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Energy
2:43 pm
Wed November 28, 2012

EPA Bans BP From Bidding On Federal Contracts

Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 3:47 pm

The Environmental Protection Agency announced on Wednesday that it is temporarily banning BP from doing new business with the federal government. The agency cites BP's lack of business integrity as a reason, pointing to the company's conduct during the 2010 Gulf of Mexico disaster. The suspension doesn't affect current contracts.

Environment
1:15 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

Loophole Lets Toxic Oil Water Flow Over Indian Land

Dirty water from the oil wells flows through oil-caked pipes into a settling pit where trucks vacuum off the oil. A net covers the pit to keep out birds and other wildlife. Streams of this wastewater flow through the reservation and join natural creeks and rivers.
Elizabeth Shogren NPR

Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 9:55 am

The air reeks so strongly of rotten eggs that tribal leader Wes Martel hesitates to get out of the car at an oil field on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. He already has a headache from the fumes he smelled at another oil field.

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Around the Nation
3:24 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

Smart Power Grid May Have Lessened Sandy's Impact

Originally published on Wed October 31, 2012 4:53 pm

Old age and a new threat — climate change — are putting a strain on the East Coast's power infrastructure after Sandy.

Around the Nation
5:55 pm
Mon October 29, 2012

Millions Without Power As Sandy Makes Landfall

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

Already more than a million people from Maine to Virginia have lost electricity because of the storm. And in one case, as we heard a few minutes ago, the utility Consolidated Edison took the unusual step of cutting off power to parts of lower Manhattan. By the time the storm is over, more than 10 million homes and businesses in the eastern U.S. could lose electricity. That's according to the utility industry.

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It's All Politics
2:09 pm
Sun October 14, 2012

On The Campaign Trail, Regulations Dominate The Environmental Debate

Smoke rises from the stacks of the La Cygne Generating Station coal-fired power plant in La Cygne, Kan. President Obama's regulation of the coal industry has come under fire from his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney.
Charlie Riedel AP

Originally published on Sun October 14, 2012 3:02 pm

In previous elections, candidates from both parties have campaigned on pledges to be environmental presidents. This time, neither candidate is talking much about cleaning up the air or protecting scenic lands.

Instead, the debate has focused on whether and how much environmental regulations hurt businesses, especially the energy industry.

Mostly it's been GOP candidate Mitt Romney criticizing President Obama for what he sees as overzealous environmental regulations that strangle the economic recovery.

Environmental Rules

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Science
4:05 pm
Fri September 21, 2012

Chimney Rock Becomes Newest National Monument

A large sandstone feature in southwestern Colorado, Chimney Rock became America's newest national monument on Friday.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri September 21, 2012 4:53 pm

President Obama named a new national monument on Friday: Chimney Rock in southwestern Colorado. With two sandstone spires soaring from a mesa, not only is Chimney Rock a spectacular place; it also provides a fascinating glimpse into the ancient people who lived in that region more than 1,000 years ago.

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Around the Nation
3:30 pm
Fri September 21, 2012

Colorado's Chimney Rock Gets National Designation

The Obama administration has named Chimney Rock, in Colorado as a new national monument. The ancient people who lived there were a little bit like modern Americans — they had an elite class and a 99 percent just like us.

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