Jeff Brady

Jeff Brady is a NPR National Desk Correspondent based in Philadelphia. He covers the mid-Atlantic region and the energy industry.

In this role, Brady reports on the business of energy, from concerns over hydraulic fracturing in Western Pennsylvania to the oil boom in North Dakota and solar developments in the desert Southwest. With a focus on the consumer, Brady's reporting addresses how the energy industry intersects consumers' perspective at the gas pump and light switch.

Frequently traveling throughout the country for NPR, Brady has covered just about every major domestic news event in the past decade. Before moving to Philadelphia in July 2011, Brady was based in Denver and covered the west for NPR.

In 2005, Brady was among the NPR reporters who covered the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. His reporting on flooded cars left behind after the storm exposed efforts to stall the implementation of a national car titling system. Today, the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System is operational and the Department of Justice estimates it could save car buyers up to $11 billion a year.

Before coming to NPR in September 2003, Brady was a reporter at Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) in Portland. He has also worked in commercial television as an anchor and a reporter; and commercial radio as a talk-show host and reporter.

Brady graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Southern Oregon State College (now Southern Oregon University).

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The Keystone XL oil pipeline may be closer to being built. The U.S. State Department's released an environmental impact statement that says the project would not make climate change any worse, and it's now up to President Obama to decide the fate of the pipeline. NPR's Jeff Brady reports that environmental groups and many Democrats want the president to reject the review's findings.

A remarkable transformation is underway in western North Dakota, where an oil boom is changing the state's fortunes and leaving once-sleepy towns bursting at the seams. In a series of stories, NPR is exploring the economic, social and environmental demands of this modern-day gold rush.

North Dakota's oil boom isn't just about oil; a lot of natural gas comes out of the ground at the same time. But there's a problem with that: The state doesn't have the pipelines needed to transport all of that gas to market. There's also no place to store it.

Cold weather this week has boosted demand for heating fuels across the country. Natural gas prices are up, especially in the Northeast. At one point prices for natural gas into New York City jumped nearly tenfold from an average winter price of $5.68 per million BTU to $55.49, according to Bentek Energy, an analytics company.

Oil giant BP is challenging hundreds of millions of dollars in claims that were filed by businesses after the company's 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The total price tag for BP's oil spill is huge — $42.5 billion. At issue here is a fraction of that — but still a lot of money. BP says $540 million has been awarded to businesses for losses that "are either nonexistent, exaggerated or have nothing to do with the Deepwater Horizon accident."

The state of New York effectively has a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing as the government figures out how to regulate the controversial drilling technology. Still, the state is benefiting from a fracking-fueled drilling boom in next-door Pennsylvania.

For decades, oil has been the fuel of choice for thousands of residential buildings in New York City. But now there are fewer chimneys spewing black smoke. That's because the city has a program encouraging owners to convert to cleaner-burning natural gas.

There's plenty of criticism of the Affordable Care Act and how it's being implemented.

But let's introduce you to someone who is quite pleased with her Obamacare experience: Lela Petersen of Flagler, Colo. She's a small business owner with a very big health insurance bill.

But thanks to the health law, she expects that bill will be cut by more than half in January.

One of the effects of Superstorm Sandy a year ago could be seen at service stations throughout New York City and surrounding areas: Motorists joined long lines outside the few stations that had both electricity and gasoline.

"People were fighting over here. People were fighting over there. People were coming through the wrong way. It was chaos," Jessica Laura said at the time. "Then the cops came, and they just started organizing it."

Since then, the oil industry and policymakers have been working to shore up the region's fuel supply system.

In a New Orleans courtroom this week, BP and the federal government are arguing over how much oil gushed into the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon explosion in 2010.

Oil flowed from the out-of-control well for nearly three months. Just how much oil spilled will be key in determining the amount BP will have to pay in federal fines and penalties.

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In Pennsylvania, more than a half-million people who don't have insurance are waiting to hear whether the state will take advantage of a Medicaid expansion that's part of the Affordable Care Act.

The federal law would allow people earning up to 138 percent of federal poverty guidelines to sign up for Medicaid. But a Supreme Court ruling that largely upheld the law gave states the choice whether to expand their Medicaid programs.

Many outsiders assume the Amish reject all new technology. But that's not true.

One Amish man in Lancaster County, Pa., checks his voicemail about four times a day. His shop is equipped with a propane-powered forklift, hydraulic-powered saws, cordless drills, and a refrigerated tank where milk from dairy cows is stored.

Americans are buying less gasoline than they did just a few years back. While many people believe this is a good thing, it does present a problem: Most road construction is paid for with fuel taxes. Less gas tax revenue means less money for roads.

One reason gas purchases are down is that more people are driving more efficient cars, such as hybrid and electric vehicles. Now states are looking for solutions, including charging hybrids extra fees or imposing fees based on miles driven.

If you work for Penn State and don't agree to step on a scale or have your waist measured, it could soon cost you $100 a month. The Pennsylvania State University is joining a growing list of employers penalizing workers who want company-sponsored health benefits but refuse to participate in health improvement programs.

University officials say they need to take dramatic steps to reduce health care costs, and getting their workers in shape is one way to do it.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Gay rights activists celebrated two big victories this week before the U.S. Supreme Court, as justices overturned the Defense of Marriage Act and cleared the way for same-sex marriages in California.

Now gay marriage opponents and supporters are turning their attention to individual states, like New Jersey, where polls show most residents support same-sex marriage. So far, one person, Gov. Chris Christie, has stood in the way.

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And before leaving on his trip to Africa, President Obama had some other words on another subject. He announced a wide-ranging plan to address climate change. Rather than taking that plan to Congress and fighting it out, Obama is using his executive powers to implement it without new laws. The president wants the Environmental Protection Agency to restrict carbon-dioxide emissions from power plants. The biggest source of those emissions is coal-fired facilities.

Lots of passionate people are taking up farming these days, motivated by frustration with industrial farming, concerns about the environment, and a desire to build community and local food markets. Some of these new farmers have joined the Grange, a long-established fraternal organization for farmers with roots in social activism.

In Oregon, Granges dominated by this new generation have banded together in a coalition dubbed "Green Granges," which work together to advance the issues they care about.

A radical shift in the world energy picture is raising environmental concerns in the United States.

Until recently, the U.S. had been expected to import more natural gas. But now, because of controversial technologies like "fracking," drillers are producing a lot more domestic natural gas; so much that prices are down, along with industry profits. And drillers are looking overseas for new customers.

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A Philadelphia doctor who performed late-term abortions is now facing multiple murder convictions and a possible death sentence. A jury found Kermit Gosnell guilty on three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of three babies that prosecutors said were delivered alive and then killed. Gosnell was also found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of a female patient. He was acquitted on one count of murder in a fourth abortion.

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Organizers gave that service in Boston a title: Healing Our City. Thousands of people took part both inside the cathedral and outside.

NPR's Jeff Brady spoke with Bostonians about this moment of collective remembrance.

JEFF BRADY, BYLINE: A theme emerged during the service, expressed here by Rev. Nancy Taylor.

THE REV. NANCY TAYLOR: We are shaken, but we are not forsaken. Another's hate will not make of us haters.

More than a week after Susan Patton's letter to the editor of The Daily Princetonian prompted heated criticism, the 1977 Princeton alumna says she still stands by her words.

"I have never had a problem voicing an unpopular opinion if it's heartfelt," Patton tells NPR.

In her letter, Patton wrote to young women attending her alma mater, "Find a husband on campus before you graduate."

A Philadelphia doctor who performed abortions is on trial for murder. Kermit Gosnell, 72, is accused in the deaths of a female patient and seven babies who the prosecutor says were born alive. District Attorney R. Seth Williams laid out the case in disturbing detail in a grand jury report last year.

When authorities raided Gosnell's clinic in 2010 they found squalid conditions: blood on the floor, the stench of urine and a flea-infested cat wandering through the facility.

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A British teenager has sold his mobile application to Yahoo for a reported $30 million. Seventeen-year-old Nick D'Aloisio created his app called Summly when he was only 15. As NPR's Jeff Brady reports, the teen will now go to work for Yahoo.

Catholics in Philadelphia react on Wednesday to selection of the new pope.

The solar energy business is growing quickly, but future growth will not include oil giant BP.

At the IHS CERAWeek energy conference in Houston, BP's CEO made it clear the company is done with solar.

"We have thrown in the towel on solar," Bob Dudley said after delivering a wide-ranging speech Wednesday.

"Not that solar energy isn't a viable energy source, but we worked at it for 35 years, and we really never made money," he added.

St. Patrick's Day is more than three weeks away, but this weekend near Pennsylvania State University in State College, a similar celebration — called "State Patty's Day" — is happening.

While it has some of the trappings of the Irish holiday, for most it's just an excuse to get drunk and party.

If you've been behind the wheel recently, you already know gasoline prices are up.

The national average price for regular gas rose to nearly $3.75 a gallon Tuesday, according to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report.

"Retail prices have gone up for each of the last 33 or so days — dating back to about Jan. 17," says Denton Cinquegrana, executive editor at the Oil Price Information Service.

Mention the recent surge in oil and natural gas production in the U.S. and one word comes to mind for a lot of people: "fracking." Hydraulic fracturing is a controversial technique that uses water, sand and potentially hazardous chemicals to break up rock deep underground to release oil and natural gas.

But there's another technology that is just as responsible for drilling booms happening across the country: horizontal drilling.

Environmental Consequences

The future of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline is in the hands of the State Department. President Obama rejected a similar pipeline proposal last year, but now that Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman has approved an alternative route through his state, the approval process is back on track.

The Department of the Interior is huge — more than 70,000 employees manage a half-billion acres of public land, mostly in the West. The department does everything from operate national parks to administer Native American social programs and manage wild horses.

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