Special Thanks to DeSmog's Steve Horn for 6.5 Years of Courageous Journalism

Steve Horn

The entire DeSmog team wishes to thank Steve Horn for his incredible effort and commitment, and wish him the best as he embarks on a new career path covering criminal justice issues for Criminal Legal News and Prison Legal News.

Steve joined DeSmog in August 2011 as our first Research Fellow, and covered just about every beat for us, from fracking to coal ash, fossil fuel subsidies and lobbying scandals, ALEC, SPN, and even the obscure IOGCC.

To say that Steve was prolific would be an understatement. He wrote 480 articles during his 6.5 years working for DeSmog, or an average of about 73-74 articles per year.

Here are our Top 15 hits from Steve, although the truth is that every piece he wrote was a hit, so dive further into his archive of articles if possible. And follow him on Twitter if you don't already.

Thank you, Steve! 

Steve Horn’s Top 15 Highlights as a DeSmog Research Fellow

1.) An 11-Part Series on IOGCC, an obscure group that Steve doggedly investigated — even to the point that they called the police on him!

2.) A 42-Part Series on DAPL, starting before Dakota Access became a cause célèbre for the climate justice movement. Some of that coverage on the issue of potential jury bias, and how law enforcement's public relations efforts covered by Steve and Curtis Waltman of Muckrock may have “poisoned” the jury pool, was cited as part of the federal lawsuit involving Red Fawn Fallis. Fallis' lawsuit was eventually moved to a different federal jurisdiction.

3.) Three-Part Series on Potential Ethics Issues with Ex-CIA Director David Petraeus' trip to the Bakken Shale as a representative of private equity firm KKR:

Documents: Petraeus Fracking Field Trip Reveals ND Government, Oil, Private Equity Nexus

ND Treasurer: Red Carpet Rollout for Gen. Petraeus Fracking Field Trip “Not Unusual”

Revealed: Emails Show ND Ethics Law Potentially Broken on Petraeus Fracking Trip

4.) 2015 piece on role played by Hillary Clinton's State Department to push energy sector privatization reform in Mexico and general reporting on the issue ever since. That story was covered as front page news by one of Mexico's biggest newspapers, La Jornada.

5.) Dozens of pieces about Keystone XL, including many about ERM Group and other State Department conflicts-of-interest in the Obama era and on President Donald Trump's “Made in America” executive order for steel and pipelines like Keystone. It turns out that much of the steel for U.S. pipelines is made by a Russian-owned company, including for Keystone and DAPL.

That reporting was subsequently picked up in coverage by MSNBC's Joy Reid on her show “AM Joy” and discussed by 350.org's Bill McKibben on “Real Time with Bill Maher” on HBO.

6.) Sand Land documentary and general frac sand coverage, including first big piece on what was going on in Iowa.

7.) Coverage of the ExxonMobil tar sands oil spill in Mayflower, Arkansas and the implementation of a “no fly zone” by the FAA, which got picked up by The Colbert Report.

8.) Many pieces on LNG exports and the revolving door during the Obama era (and after), including the big report co-written with Lee Fang then of Republic Report, plus the definitive piece on how the oil/gas industry lobbied for and obtained congressional legislation to deepen Gulf of Mexico ports to facilitate exports of oil/gas through the expanded Panama Canal.

9.) The first big piece on the attempt to create a massive fracked gas petrochemical hub in West Virginia, fueled by Chinese capital.

10.) Acknowledged in Gasland: Part Two , as well as in Naomi Klein's This Changes Everything and Wenonah Hauter's Frackopoly books. 

11.) Lead author of DeSmog’s multi-part report on biochar.

12.) Revealed that the oil/gas industry utilized PSYOPs psychological warfare techniques within U.S. communities at a 2011 conference in Houston, picked up by CNBC's Eamon Javers.

13.) Revealing that the EPA, under Obama, actually privately acknowledged groundwater contamination in Dimock, Pennsylvania, even as it publicly denied it or its connection to fracking. That included much reporting both before and after that document was leaked to Steve by a source. That document was exhibited as part of the class action lawsuit filed against Cabot Oil and Gas in Dimock, by water contamination victims, in federal court. Unfortunately, as reported at DeSmog with Sharon Kelly, the jury was not allowed to see that evidence.

14.) The first big coverage of the oil-by-rail issue in the U.S., including what BNSF might have known — citing a document from the state of Missouri which was picked up by “Democracy Now!” — about the volatility of the substance it was carrying via rail. Also the first big piece on how Warren Buffett and BNSF could benefit from tar sands by rail as a KXL alternative.

15.) Well over a dozen pieces about ALEC over the years, including the definitive historical piece about the historical roots of the group State Policy Network, which was an offshoot of ALEC started out of the office of the Heartland Institute. Recent reporting has shown, almost exclusively in the media ecosystem, how ALEC and corporate interests which fund it and drives its agenda, are pushing to criminalize protests of pipelines in the post-DAPL era in states such as Wyoming and Iowa. Also revealed that ALEC's former top energy and environmental staffer, Todd Wynn, now works at the Trump Interior Department.