Kristen Lombardi

Investigative Reporter

New York City

Kristen Lombardi

I dig into and write about environmental and social injustices.



Sunshine State lags on solar power, doubles down on natural gas

VERO BEACH, Fla. The irony is rich. The Sunshine State taps the sun for less than half a percent of its electricity while making two-thirds with natural gas — a fuel that Florida must pipe in from other states. Many have called this a risky bet. A coastal state already suffering punishing effects of global warming shouldn’t keep building power plants that pump even more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the Sierra Club warned.
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Natural gas building boom fuels climate worries, enrages landowners

They landed, one after another, in 2015: plans for nearly a dozen interstate pipelines to move natural gas beneath rivers, mountains and people’s yards. Like spokes on a wheel, they’d spread from Appalachia to markets in every direction. Together these new and expanded pipelines — comprising 2,500 miles of steel in all — would double the amount of gas that could flow out of Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.
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Sexual assault on campus shrouded in secrecy

Three hours into deliberations by the University of Virginia’s Sexual Assault Board, UVA junior Kathryn Russell sat with her mother in a closet-like room in sprawling Peabody Hall. Down the corridor, two professors and two students were deciding her fate. Russell was replaying in her mind, endlessly, details of her allegations of rape when, she remembers, Shamim Sisson, the board chair, stepped into the room and delivered the order: You can’t talk about the verdict to anyone.
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Campus sexual assault statistics don’t add up

A sexual assault prevention program documented 46 sexual assaults at West Virginia University in a recent academic year. But those 46 incidents didn’t show up in the university’s annual security report. A counseling and victim advocacy program at the University of Iowa served 62 students, faculty, and staff who reported being raped or almost raped in the last fiscal year.
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A lack of consequences for sexual assault

In my opinion … IU not only harbors rapists, but also completely disregards, ignores, and fails women. Indiana University freshman Margaux J. unleashed these fiery words in May 2006 after a campus judicial proceeding on her allegations of rape. It wasn’t that the two administrators running the proceeding panel didn’t believe her.
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Environmental racism persists, and the EPA is one reason why

The invasion of sewer flies moved residents of University Place subdivision to turn to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for help. Darting from a neighboring sewage plant, the flies descended upon the mostly African-American neighborhood in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with such regularity that one resident posted this warning sign: Beware of attack fly.
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Thirty miles from Selma, a different kind of civil rights struggle

As Esther Calhoun sees it, discrimination, rooted in the acts of many, has turned this wisp of a town into a dumping ground. A landfill owner that staked out roughly 1,000 acres for Alabama’s biggest municipal-waste site on a county road dotted by well-worn homes. A county commission that approved the landfill over objections from a largely African-American neighborhood.
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'They figured our neighborhood is black, so they'll do it'

Aggie Lane made her neighborhood’s pitch on July 11, 2005. At the U.S. “We all know that a white, middle-class community would not put up with a sewer facility in a residential area,” Lane, herself a white, middle-class transplant to Southside Syracuse, said to the regulators. Filed under federal civil-rights law, the complaint claimed the plant would harm the “health and overall quality of life of the surrounding community,” as well as adjacent Onondaga Creek.
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Coal ash bedevils Oklahoma town, revealing weakness of EPA rule

Here in the land of wind-whipped, rolling plains, the gray dust, which sparkles in just the right light, seems inescapable. Residents of this town near the Arkansas line say they have spotted it on their grass, trees, ponds, barns, furniture and cars. The source of Bokoshe’s enduring misery is coal ash, an often-toxic byproduct of burning coal for electricity.
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Former cleanup workers blame illnesses on toxic coal ash exposures

It was April 28, 2014, five years after Craig Wilkinson’s 12-month stint as a backhoe operator at a massive coal-ash spill in Tennessee. Wilkinson was desperate for answers. Bearing a list of metals — arsenic, lead, mercury and others concentrated in coal ash — he arrived at a clinic specializing in toxic exposures.
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Coal ash: The hidden story

Pat Nees never liked the water at the Moose Lodge. Almost everyone in tiny Colstrip, Montana, drank and dined at Lodge #2190, but the well water was notorious — it smelled like a sewer. It felt oily, gritty from sediment. Lodge members braving a drink — Nees among them — frequently doubled over from indigestion.
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Sex-abuse victims of former priest John Geoghan charge that Cardinal Bernard Law was told of Geoghan’s criminal activity as early as 1984 but did nothing to stop it. Now they want to know why.

GROUND ZERO: the campus of the Boston archdiocese in Brighton. Those allegedly abused by former priest John Geoghan claim that the church bureaucracy is engaged in a multi-year cover-up of the charges. 'GEOGHAN may be a sick, twisted person, but he's sick,' says alleged victim Mark Keane. 'In my mind, the fact that his superiors, people as powerful as Cardinal Law, could take steps to hide and protect a pedophile is a much worse crime.'


Kristen Lombardi

Investigative reporter with 20 years’ experience. Covered everything from climate change to environmental injustice to campus rape and clergy sexual abuse. Winner of multiple national and local journalism awards, including the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Human Rights and Social Justice Reporting, the Dart Award for Excellence in the Coverage of Trauma, and the Sigma Delta Chi Award for Public Service.

Recipient of several distinguished fellowships, including a Nieman Fellowship in Journalism at Harvard University, in 2011-2012.

Frequent speaker on TV and radio, at conferences and in classrooms.

Adjunct faculty professor and student adviser in the investigative-reporting program at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.



  • Investigative reporting
  • Computer-assisted reporting
  • Document digging
  • Research techniques
  • The art of the interview
  • Narrative writing
  • Public speaking