Andrew Nikiforuk has been writing about the oil and gas industry for nearly 20 years and cares deeply about accuracy, government accountability, and cumulative impacts. He has won seven National Magazine Awards for his journalism since 1989 and top honours for investigative writing from the Association of Canadian Journalists.
Andrew has also published several books. The dramatic, Alberta-based Saboteurs: Wiebo Ludwig’s War Against Big Oil, won the Governor General's Award for Non-Fiction in 2002. Pandemonium, which examines the impact of global trade on disease exchanges, received widespread national acclaim. The Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of the Continent, which considers the world’s largest energy project, was a national bestseller and won the 2009 Rachel Carson Environment Book Award and was listed as a finalist for the Grantham Prize for Excellence In Reporting on the Environment. Empire of the Beetle, a startling look at pine beetles and the world’s most powerful landscape changer, was nominated for the Governor General’s award for Non-Fiction in 2011. And Slick Water: Fracking and One Insider’s Stand Against the World’s Most Powerful Industry, won the 2016 Science in Society Journalism Award.
Reporting Beat: Energy and the West.
What is the most important issue facing British Columbians?: The shale gas boom and the total lack of government policy. Shale gas is to this province what bitumen is to Alberta: it's a political game changer with formidable liabilities.
Website: Andrew Nikiforuk
Stories by Andrew Nikiforuk
Pipeline approvals ‘make the goals impossible to reach,’ finds Oil Change International.
Agency misrepresents Supreme Court ruling on right to sue over alleged Charter violations, they say.
In split decision, justices say Jessica Ernst has no right to sue over alleged Charter violations.
Visionary Roderick Haig-Brown led it early. Last in a series.
Words for resisters, from BC’s late, great conservationist Roderick Haig-Brown. Part of a series.
And the oil industry powers who are calling the tune.
Latest in a series quoting BC’s visionary conservationist, Roderick Haig-Brown.
Warnings from the ghost of Roderick Haig-Brown. Second in a series quoting the Campbell River visionary.
New series revisits the famed writer’s eerily apt warnings on today’s big issues.
Oil and gas industry claims undercut by growing body of research.
New research shows rapid growth of so-called ‘technosphere.’
It’s an irrational political decision and affront to Canada’s interests.
Government’s own ministerial panel reviewed the evidence, and posed these queries.
Musings on life and legacy of radical conservationist Roderick Haig-Brown.
Marine Harvest lawsuit brings legal challenge to operations on much of coast.
Era of global growth is over, and Trump’s the first of coming calamities.
Behind the Trump-like hype: fleeced taxpayers and a surge of climate pollution.
‘RAFT’ proposal would replace energy jobs with needed clean-up work.
BC Green leader Andrew Weaver calls for environment minister’s resignation.
Alberta landowner’s complex lawsuit has now lasted nine years in total.
A reality check for our bitumen-besotted leaders.
Lack of measures to prevent transfer of deadly disease from farmed fish breaks law, suit charges.
Economist Allan tells Natural Resources it was ‘dangerously misled’ four ways.
The activist-biologist, a long-time critic of the industry, describes development as a ‘SLAPP’ suit.
Harper insider convicted on three counts of illegal lobbying.
Spike corresponds with timing of shale gas boom.
Campbell River meeting comes as Morton video of farmed fish goes viral.
‘It is the right of any human to protect their land and water,’ says one protester.
Orders follow a number of developments, including federal decision to extend licences.
No ‘hippie terrorists’ here, the sailors supporting Alexandra Morton’s research mission share a passion for ocean life.
As biologist’s research quest continues, industry decries use of drones and cameras as ‘harassment.’
Parasites spiked in Broughton area salmon pens, and hit decade high among wild juveniles, says new report.
Biologist Alexandra Morton welcomes conservation society’s support; fish farmers ‘alarmed.’
Corexit’s critics say it’s ineffective and might increase damage to marine ecosystems.
Many scientists describe such efforts as 'prime-time theatre.' Yet the farce continues.
Brexit voters should recognize Leopold Kohr's belief that large institutions concentrate power and ignore local needs.
Nielle and Howard Hawkwood now want a moratorium on Alberta industry.
The economic case is a bust and emissions will shatter limits: expert.
Air pollution report in Nature shocks even Canada's top researchers.
Government backs down from court appeal based on 'new information.'
Homes can be restored, but not the bitumen boom that first put them there.
Texas study finds quality fluctuates as nearby industry evolves.
Is The Farm, with its earnest salespeople and eager shoppers, a vision of pot's future here?
Program covered groundwater monitoring, climate change and more.
US science agency highlights 'potential ground-shaking hazards.'
Another scientific report finds evidence of industry's impact on public resource.
Aubrey McClendon was fracking's greatest advocate -- until he drove his car into a concrete wall.
Incident highlights fragility of high-cost energy extraction.
The real facts behind Christy Clark's rosy claims.
Close read of BC's budget shows realities of this subsidized industry boondoggle.
Low prices once signalled good news for the global economy. Not this time.
Panel finds current share of value Albertans receive from resources 'generally appropriate.'
Agency failing to properly track 'deficiencies in company compliance,' audit finds.
Industry report finds declining costs of wind and solar a viable threat to North American product.
Jessica Ernst's long fight to challenge legislation putting energy regulator above the law reaches top court.
Expert research, public record details many risks of underground gas storage.
Jessica Ernst's long battle over rights, well contamination reaches highest court Tuesday.
The $9 billion flaying, then drowning of a fertile zone has begun. We still don't know why.
James Hansen is fretting about the Paris talks, and for good reason.
Findings 'a call to better manage and protect the resource,' says UVic researcher.
How a federal 'no' to Nova Scotia mine got whacked by NAFTA's tribunal.
How Dan Gagnier and Bruce Carson teamed at industry group EPIC.
Bellicose words, pandering flip flops, just one aim: Win votes at home.
Big oil, taxpayers' millions, call girls and a 'mechanic' named Bruce Carson.
How an apocalyptic strain of Christianity guides his policies and campaigning.
He loves naming laws with false slogans. (So do fascists.)
How polarizing tactics can tranquilize voters, and win elections.
Science letter asks gov, industry to acknowledge 'full impacts' of BC project.
We've drained our planet's stored energy, scientists say, with no rechargeable plug in sight.
Years ago Andrew Nikiforuk, citing experts, warned where Stephen Harper's priorities would lead us.
Lessons for BC, Alberta in new Stanford report.
Asian nation's PM, key to $36 billion LNG bid by Petronas, in corruption probe.
Pressing queries in light of high-stakes Petronas agreement just passed.
Impact on groundwater and migrating gases mostly unknown, critics say. A special report.
Jessica Ernst's charter claim hearing slated for 2016.
Gus Van Harten, author of 'Sold Down the Yangtze,' breaks down the FIPA's impacts.
Chevron shuts down operations following seismic event near Fox Creek.
New seismic reporting system 'a good start' but 'not foolproof,' says hazard expert.
Based on limited data, EPA study finds no 'widespread' impacts.
Analyst David Hughes found BC gas reserves inflated, revenues overstated.
Analyst David Hughes offers another challenge to the province's nascent industry.
Projects unlikely to be economic for another decade: Oxford Institute energy report.
Group led by Malaysia's national oil company aims to build terminal near Prince Rupert.
'I am stunned,' says Dr. John O'Connor, a veteran presence in First Nations community.
It may be tricky to tread, but Alberta's path forward is clear.
Expecting smooth sailing at Alberta's helm, PC premier forgot about oil prices.
'The Tories chose to pretend the big blunder did not happen,' says consultant Jim Roy.
Levels of the carcinogenic gas rising in Pennsylvanian homes near industry sites.
Melting offers a 'big signal' about the climate, expert says.
Encana disclosure shows 'disdain for an ordinary Albertan,' claims counsel for Jessica Ernst.
Safety board's report a relevant read for any fracking zone.
Researchers need more seismic data to understand unique hazards.
Regulator says drilling likely triggered 4.4 temblor.
Natural gas already sold at 'bargain basement prices,' says former Alberta royalty advisor.
Quakes also triggered by wastewater disposal, finds oil and gas commission.
A Tyee interview with Terry Lynn Karl, who wrote the book on petro states.
Landowner's landmark lawsuit against the fracking industry continues.
Special reading of Alicia Priest's memoir this Thursday in Vancouver.
Albertan's son, seeking legal help, records an insider's blunt advice on how petro giants and regulators fend off lawsuits.
Albertan says drilling buckled her property. Then the real misery started.
Jessica Ernst aims to challenge regulator immunity in Canada's highest court.
Decision 'reaffirms the power of the people,' says plaintiff Jessica Ernst.
Marc Eliesen speaks on his decision to resign.
Auditor general report details provincial incentives to largely foreign-owned gas giants.
Writer raced to finish memoir as she battled ALS.
Why the forecast for extreme hydrocarbons may be shorter than advertised.
What's causing it. What it means. Why it's political dynamite.
An alarming new protocol in Liberian slums speak volumes about the evolving epidemic.
FIPPA carries big labour and regulatory implications for LNG development.
In striking Ernst appeal, Alberta court wraps blanket of immunity around regulator.
Globalization, deforestation, explosive growth, bats. This terrible epidemic has many technicians.
Returns diminish as energy companies resort to higher-cost, higher-risk hydrocarbons.
It may be impolite, but there's one major culprit Alberta needs to address.
Carmen Langer says computer, memory sticks swiped from his home last weekend.
With mining growth comes larger, deeper, more unwieldy tailings ponds, experts warn.
Cornell engineer takes issue with Coleman's claim that BC is leak-free.
Questions about conflict of interest in Nova Scotia.
TYEE EXCLUSIVE: Researchers discover ancient salt formation key factor in Alberta steam fracking disasters.
Review finds fractures spread like cracks on a frozen lake, resulting in uncontrolled seepage.
Gov't fracking consultant Maurice Dusseault claims to have invented less risky process.
This is a long read. Because the current 'debate' leaves out so much.
Long-term sustainability of industry is highly questionable, studies show.
On the contrary, its legacy will be a momentous clash of civilizations. Unless it is stopped.
Princeton researcher measures leaks that risk groundwater, and increasingly the climate.
Badly sealed oil and gas wellbores leak emissions barely monitored, experts find.
Without proper science on the technique, industry will lose the public's faith, contaminant scientist says.
The famed BC writer and naturalist collected the wisdom we need, if we'd just sit and read.
How Clark's promise to voters got signed away in Beijing.
Much-hyped industry in BC plagued by leaks of potent warmer.
Court hears appeal as part of landowner's ongoing fracking lawsuit.
Jessica Ernst's appeal of previous ruling in fracking case starts Thursday.
And what they tell us about a much bigger squeeze you can expect to feel.
Citizens shut out of Kinder Morgan review process strike back at regulator.
Scientists investigate high levels of damaging gas released in fracked areas.
Environment Canada-commissioned study urges a 'go slow' approach.
Vancouver, Burnaby ask federal regulator to reinstate 'critical' process.
Oral process needed for accountability, says Robyn Allan.
Landmark case could spark a flood of litigation against the province, lawyer argues.
Enslaved by debt, it represents the worst of corrosive oil and gas politics.
Premier's exit will likely prove insignificant to oil-saturated Alberta.
Harper gov't releases a trim three-year budget for the department.
After several leaks, production frozen while technical review is conducted.
Diana Daunheimer's lawsuit follows years of policing industry in her own backyard.
Audit confirms company failed to meet federal standards.
Compared to US gov'ts, which take home a greater percentage of revenue, quite a bit.
Feds insist necessary research was 'retained,' but don't mention digitization.
Researchers say energy regulator and industry must do more to explain why.
Landowner's appeal argument foreshadows what could become a major court battle this May.
Various US studies probe how fracking pollution, chemicals affect the unborn.
Do tremors plaguing industry in Texas, Holland, and beyond offer a glimpse of BC's future?
'Original materials will be preserved,' counters Tory minister in Parliament spat.
It's a life or death question for ancient trees TimberWest wants to cut on Sonora Island.
Winnipegger Mia Feuer's art reflects the 'sculptural' transformation of Alberta's landscape.
Closures and 'denigration' of library materials show trend to 'minimalist government.'
'Allegations of effective book burning are very troubling to Canadians': NDP
Canadian Library Association disturbed by closures, wants proof digitizing is happening.
'I don't want to have my name associated with empty shelves,' biologist says.
Similar moves by US Republican president met sharp backlash from 10,000 scientists.
Minister Shea fails to convince researchers trove of information is preserved.
Goal stated is 'culling' research, not preserving and sharing through digitization.
Alberta Energy Regulator probe into Peace River emissions sparked in part by Tyee investigation.
Scientists reject Harper gov't claims vital material is being saved digitally.
Oil patch consultant challenges decision granting Alberta Energy Regulator immunity from damage claims.
Ecology prof says they were there before bitumen spill but questions about BC clean-up challenges remain.
Three years after spill, blobs in river raise questions about bitumen cleanup risks.
Harper government shuts down 'world class' collection on freshwater science and protection.
Top geoscientist spells out startling depletion rates for high-cost shale gas, tight oil wells.
Are we roused yet to stand up to bullies who embody Canada's new political extremism?
Unifor worried about 'frightening' pollution, worker safety, First Nations rights.
Aussie climate warrior on 'wild card' natural gas, Oz's coal bust, and the renewable wave.
Sickening carcinogens now saturate the province's Industrial Heartland, study finds.
Couple says 'glaring' data on industry-caused water contamination is ignored.
'I have no choice but to appeal', says plaintiff Jessica Ernst, who alleges industry polluted her water.
Risks of steam-assisted bitumen recovery are too little discussed, experts say.
Spills show fragility of so-called in-situ, or steam-assisted, production, say experts.
Landmark case could change how shale gas industry is regulated in Canada.
Hydrologist finds prediction efforts crippled by poor monitoring systems.
I only hope my city's nightmare is the climate change wake-up Alberta, and Canada, needs.
Plains Midstream is a repeat offender in two countries.
Report details how industry, climate change could 'eat up' the Mackenzie River Basin and its vital ecological services.
Study debunks Enbridge claims that oil sands crude spill is standard clean-up.
As we work down the hydrocarbon pyramid, energy gets messier and much more costly. Latest in a series.
Facing limits to sun-powered renewable energy. Latest in a series.
There's a reason some call biofuels 'forbidden fuels'. Latest in a series.
No basis for claims of $50 million a day losses, says new Allan report.
A farmer's plea for protections against petro firms who 'take our lands.'
Flaming tap water lawsuit by Jessica Ernst faced delay after previous judge promoted.
So concludes an expert analyst of the natural gas boom. Brace for bust.
Mother who left her Peace River region home behind could 'smell the bitumen.'
A history of failed guesses shows how hard it is to forecast fuels of the future.
Red Empire just ran out of fuel, say growing number of experts.
Behold the latest mystical and ecstatic pronouncements of Keystone XL acolytes.
Lessons from an earlier energy transition. Third in a series.
'Gassed' by oil sands operations, families say they've been forced to evacuate.
We must engineer a return to that era's lower usage, says expert Vaclav Smil. Second in a series.
Conserving key to energy independence concludes geologist David Hughes.
Judge suddenly promoted; plaintiff Ernst sees strategy to 'delay and exhaust.'
Why can't Canada's wealthiest province break even? Blame the paradox of plenty.
Wall Street drives the shale boom like it did the housing mortgage scandal: report.
A great energy transition is coming. Will it mean a better day for humanity, or turmoil? First in a series.
In famous flaming water case, regulator to argue 'no duty of care' to landowners or groundwater.
Fracked fuel far more dirty than industry, governments claim. Final myth in series.
When industry says hardly ever, that's a myth. It's a documented, chronic problem. Third in a series.
Industry's claim that clustered wells preserve forests and farms is a myth, says expert. Second in a series.
Fed funded oil sands study confirms toxic PAHs alter lakes 90 km away.
Nikiforuk tackles top claims fracking industry uses to reassure public. First in a series.
New collection of recipes and tales of the BC coast make a delicious resource.
Selling bitumen fast, while it's still hot, is the prime minister's myopic motivation.
Nation's lobbying laws among the weakest, energy industry gets top access.
Recklessly blind to ruthless aims of China's state-owned firms, PM treats them as any free market investors.
US think tank lists inconvenient facts the Harper government ignores.
Expert says treaty gives Chinese corporations powers to override Canadians' self-determination.
Who needs democracy? Secret treaty is a massive giveaway of Canadian resources and rights with no vote in Parliament.
Canada's acclaimed energy journalist tackles The Big Question October 3 in Vancouver. Here's a taste.
Insider ties poor weld inspections to rising rate of ruptures. Part two of a Tyee investigation.
Former TransCanada employee says rupture risk is widespread, files safety complaint to PMO, regulators. A Tyee investigation, part one.
His supposed ardent admirers ignore his true gift to Canada: six principles for developing resources.
Critics say tighter oversight of Enbridge activities could have prevented disaster.
US federal investigator's latest 'Summary of Enbridge Organizational Deficiencies' reprinted here.
CEO's salary jumped 35 per cent to $8.1 million just months after disaster.
'Corrosion' of safety culture 'throughout the Enbridge organization' led to Kalamazoo disaster.
Understaffing and hostile work culture contributed to US spill, operator testimony shows.
Inside the Edmonton Enbridge control room that botched the worst bitumen pipeline leak ever.
BC taxpayers could be on hook for massive clean-up costs says economist Allan.
Experimental Lakes Area was world famous; its findings might have saved Canada billions.
Andrew Nikiforuk's call for a crack down. Plus, an excerpt on the road to Fort McMurray from 'Tar Sands.'
Why it's so hard to kick out or reform an oil-fueled government.
Palin was braver against Big Oil. And more political truths Alaska reveals about Alberta.
Four documents extolling oil sands and Gateway pipeline more 'propaganda' than business cases, says Robyn Allan.
Andrew Nikiforuk wrote the book on Wiebo Ludwig. Now he writes his obituary.
Low royalties deprive province of 'significant, increasing amounts of potential revenue.'
Signs mount that Canada's government is beholden to a religious agenda averse to science and rational debate.
Tories plan to stop protecting waterways with fish deemed to lack 'economic, cultural or ecological value.'
Current reclamation efforts fail to replace valuable carbon-storing landscapes, study finds.
ENERGY & EQUITY: Nikiforuk on how oil lubricates bellicose statecraft.
Ontario-Alberta premier spat over oil sands expansion highlights symptoms of growing petro-fever.
Regulator acknowledges water risks, says hydraulic fluids disclosure will be required.
Pollution, bribes, more. Nikiforuk pries open the record of China's oil giant, business partner for Northern Gateway pipeline.
ENERGY & EQUITY: Why should Canada now beg to fuel China's colossal waste of energy?
Dramatic changes to landscape raise temps, UA study finds.
Former CEO of ICBC concludes project 'is neither needed nor in public interest.'
ENERGY & EQUITY: Before you make oil sands and pipeline decisions, can you answer these queries?
Drilling accident fuels rebellion demanding halt to hydraulic fracturing.
ENERGY & EQUITY: The ruthless, evolving nature of energy politics.
Veteran energy analyst David Hughes calculates three reasons the project is bad for Canada.
ENERGY & EQUITY: Nikiforuk joins the fray.
Tighter regulations to protect groundwater needed, says U of Alberta geochemist.
Despite industry safety assurances, EPA finds hydraulic fracturing fluids in drinking water.
ENERGY & EQUITY: The lethal footprint of 'handy' gizmos will stomp us into oblivion.
ENERGY & EQUITY: Alberta catches water thief red-handed! Punishment is, um, 'creative.'
And scientists, the military, and frackers themselves have known it for years.
Canada judged too quick to deplete fields; domestic demand to soar.
ENERGY & EQUITY: Last in a list of ways Canada is turning a blessing into a curse.
ENERGY & EQUITY: Listing the limitations to bitumen boosting. Part two.
Push for transparency after province closed once-public records on aquifer quality.
ENERGY & EQUITY: How we turned a blessing into a curse, and ways to atone. Part one.
A six-legged memorandum from the author of the new insect epic, 'Empire of the Beetle.'
ENERGY & EQUITY: Morality doesn't guide the crude brotherhood, never did.
Former premier Lougheed is right. Piping raw bitumen to US is a lousy deal for Alberta's people.
ENERGY & EQUITY: Beyond debt, bubbles and regulatory fiascos lies the crude truth.
Alberta New Dems release secret agreements about handling public opinion.
Affluence, the tragedy reminds us, is no defence against extremism.
ENERGY & EQUITY: There's power in people caring what their neighbours do.
ENERGY & EQUITY: Studies sweep away clean image of the blue flame.
ENERGY & EQUITY: It's crazy to spend a billion pumping CO2 underground. Ask the Dutch, who said no.
Canada, heed the nation-building dream of Venezuelan Arturo Uslar Pietri. Latest in Andrew Nikiforuk's ENERGY & EQUITY series.
What happens when watchdog becomes lapdog? Nikiforuk's latest ENERGY & EQUITY inquiry.
Nikiforuk's latest ENERGY & EQUITY column includes a clip and send to-do list for decision makers.
ENERGY & EQUITY, a Tyee column by Andrew Nikiforuk, this week explains the secret of EROI.
It's just a 'tar sands road to China'. Nikiforuk lays out a surprising analayis in this, his latest Energy & Equity column.
US cables signal project was for export, contrary to official claims.
Wildfire, beetles, climate change and their combustible connections.
Industry has 'overblown' the benefits of shale gas, according to a new report.
A boom, a bonanza, a decimation, a collapse. Learn from Ahab.
Yes, you're the slave master of many energy-driven gadgets that replace human labour. But our slave society won't last.
Scientist Jessica Ernst hits gas giant EnCana, regulators with fracking lawsuit.
Taxpayer millions set up PM advisor to push petro interests from U of Calgary. A special Tyee investigation.
Petro wealth is fouling our country's character, as it did many others'.
Who finally tells us the nasty chemicals used for shale gas drilling in Western Canada? The US Congress.
'Energy and Equity' starts today -- Andrew Nikiforuk's new weekly Tyee column about oil, energy and civilization.
Inside the fight to save Alberta's pristine Clearwater from massive 'industrial withdrawal'.
How Christy Clark's advisor steered his Alberta petro giant to become the most powerful corporation in this province. Second of two.
Christy Clark picked the EnCana empire builder to guide her into power, and that says volumes about who's shaping BC's future. Part one of two.
With so many now heeding the harsh effect oil sands bitumen has on pipelines and refineries, why aren't the province's regulators?
And why some call project opponent Joe Anglin a 'dangerous' guy.
In Alberta he does, taking down government by exposing a $16 billion scandal one power point at a time.
Yet another study finds oil sands environmental monitoring isn't remotely up to the job.
Ed Stelmach got tossed from a once stable ship now rocked by petro dollar storms.
Group overseeing project says it will refute study saying CO2 is bubbling back to surface.
Findings counter studies that put bitumen's carbon footprint slightly higher than regular crude.
Farmers say high profile carbon sequestration experiment is a bubbling, dangerous failure.
Canada's new environment minister could have acknowledged the facts. Instead, we get slippery spin.
Oilsands Advisory Panel backs previous studies blasting reckless ways of world's largest energy project.
Who's super serious about renewable energy and repelling climate change? The US military, of all people.
What the scientists got right, and missed, in their high-profile, largely damning report.
To know why an oil-rich province forces hospital patients to eat thawed slop, meet the man they call The Cookie Monster.
An army of women joined in fasting to bring attention to the lack of shelter for battered women and children in Fort McMurray.
What's more destructive, rainforest wrecking bio-fuel farms or Alberta's open pit mines? Study adds it up.
Blasting shale rock with toxic fluid can release riches in natural gas, but threatens critical water supplies.
Andrew Nikiforuk is there as Hollywood's biggest director visits Extremistan.
Better to describe Canada's oil sands crude as 'the devil's tears.'
Top water ecologist cites evidence of extreme pollution near oil sands.
Seems to be Kool-Aid from the tar sands lobby, as Renner and Prentice shrug off a key study.
Detection of high heavy metals levels in Athabasca River contradicts government claims.
Matt Simmons understood the wages of addiction and wasn't afraid to sound warnings, even to George W. Bush.
Grits' dissenting report on two-year parliamentary study calls for sweeping reforms.
A short course in Dutch Disease, deindustrialization and the Bitumen Curse.
Michigan disaster follows 12 other big spills or penalties this decade for giant aiming to pipe tar sands oil to Kitimat
Potential buyers of tar sands oil want to know its true carbon footprint, but industry won't come clean.
Why did a parliamentary committee suddenly destroy drafts of a final report on tar sands pollution? Here's what they knew.
Investigators won't succeed by treating rural citizens like Taliban suspects.