Mid-Atlantic (DC DE MD PA VA WV)

Pennsylvania Gas Industry Keeps Secret Database on Pre-Drill Quality of Wells

The fracking industry loves to argue there's no proof its gas-extraction methods cause pollution. But it works hard in Pennsylvania to keep secret any evidence that might prove the question — one way or the other. Existence of its database was reported by Marie Cusick of WITF in Harrisburg, via NPR's StateImpact Pennsylvania.

"Proposed Ban on Fracking in Va. Forest Sparks Debate"

"ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. -- Kim Sandum is driving on a one-lane gravel road inside the George Washington National Forest, the largest federally protected forest on the East Coast. She points to a trout stream gurgling over rocks and shallows not 20 feet from her rolling minivan."

Source: Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot, 06/03/2013

State 'Ag-Gag' Laws Spreading, Protect Misdeeds from Scrutiny

While a Tennessee governor vetoed "ag-gag" legislation in that state, bills criminalizing the collection of information about abuses in livestock operations are still being pushed in other states — and the mechanism may be extended to stifle reporting on other environmental abuses.

"Smith Islanders Debate Buyout Offered By State"

"EWELL, Md. -- Superstorm Sandy barely laid a glove on Smith Island last fall, to hear residents tell it. Though storm-driven flooding damaged hundreds of homes in Crisfield and the rest of Somerset County, only a couple islanders got any water in their homes from the surging Chesapeake Bay."

Source: Baltimore Sun, 05/14/2013

Supreme Court Deals Blow to Out-of-State FOIA Requesters

The unanimous decision turned down a FOIA request by a California resident for records in Virginia. According to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, only a "handful" of states have similar residents-only restrictions to their FOI laws. But the doctrinal impact of the decision is likely to be large, since the court held, among other things, that the First Amendment conveys no right of access to government information.

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