When President Trump chose Oklahoma’s Attorney General Scott Pruitt as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, he tapped a politician renowned for his hostility toward environmental regulation to police the nation’s worst polluters. In a year-long investigation into Pruitt’s stewardship in Oklahoma, FUSION found a state struggling with several environmental disasters. The new one-hour FUSION documentary, “The Naked Truth: Wasteland,” looks at Oklahoma as a microcosm of what could happen to the United States under the Trump administration’s Environmental Protection Agency.
Correspondent Natasha Del Toro takes viewers to Oklahoma to see how Pruitt’s record and cozy relationship with the oil and gas industry affects real people. She peels back the layers on Pruitt’s relationships with the fossil fuel industry and billionaire funders in order to understand what could become the blueprint for our nation’s future. Natasha visits a Native American community–The Ponca tribe–that is surrounded by industry and has faced widespread environmental threats for years including dead fish, polluted water and soil—problems they say are ignored by a hands-off state government. She also meets with a family terribly affected by a methane leak; and speaks to another family who nearly died after an earthquake hit their home. Throughout the course of her reporting, Natasha begins to understand first-hand what people of the state are living with—from feeling sick from breathing in methane to experiencing her first earthquake.
During Pruitt’s six years as Oklahoma’s attorney general, critics say that he did little to protect the environment, but instead bowed to corporations and special interests putting Oklahomans at risk. In fact, Pruitt dismantled the attorney general’s environmental protection unit shortly after taking office. During that time, Oklahomans tell FUSION that he ignored communities with water and air pollution. Oil production has nearly doubled in Oklahoma since early 2010, but the extraction of oil and gas comes at a high cost. Communities with respiratory issues are found statewide and many attribute high rates of cancer to living side-by-side with industry. During Pruitt’s time as Attorney General, Oklahoma became more seismically active than the state of California. Geologists say the quakes are man made, caused by the injection of wastewater into the ground, a byproduct of extracting oil and gas. Activists are calling for the corporations to take responsibility for all of the earthquake damage.
“Wasteland” is an installment of FUSION’s award-winning signature documentary series “The Naked Truth.” “The Naked Truth” launched in January 2016 and in its first year was recognized with a number of prestigious journalism awards including: Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award (“Death by Fentanyl”), RFK Journalism Award (“Rigged”), George Polk Award (Panama Papers), National Press Club Award (“Death by Fentanyl”), and Scripps Howard Award (“ISIS Fighters”), among others. The team was also recognized for its contributions to the Pulitzer Prize-winning Panama Papers investigation and was nominated for a 2017 News and Documentary Emmy Award for its report “The Naked Truth: Trumpland.” Adweek has called “The Naked Truth” an “Investigative Journalism Franchise for the Daily Show Generation.”
Natasha Del Toro is an award-winning investigative journalist who reports for FUSION’s investigative docuseries ‘The Naked Truth.’ Whether reporting on the Panama Papers, the mugshot industry or the US electoral system, she breaks down complex issues in an entertaining and engaging way. Her distinct voice is frank, pointed and occasionally snarky and her ultimate goal is to seek justice.
From going deep on cultural obsessions to telling impactful stories that inspire and connect us, FUSION is a network that serves up a unique blend of programming that reflects the passions and shared values of America’s diverse youth. The FUSION Creative Board is made up of a cross-section of marquee talent including award-winning actors, filmmakers, academics, and musicians who share the network’s commitment to seeking out the next generation of creative talent and emerging voices. Henry Louis Gates Jr. serves as the Chairman of the Creative Board. FUSION is available to audiences across a range of platforms including cable television (find out where to watch), FUSION.net, and various OTT providers such as Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, PlayStation Vue, among others. Follow the network on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.