Mid-Atlantic (DC DE MD PA VA WV)

Philly Schools Block a Federal Study After Health Risks Are Exposed

"The crisis-wracked School District of Philadelphia has quietly abandoned a federal agency’s plans for further study of environmental-health risks in its aging school buildings. An initial review found pervasive dampness, mold or water damage — conditions that may aggravate asthma and other respiratory ailments — but the District has refused to make the complete findings public."

Source: Philadelphia City Paper, 05/09/2014

Chevron Blocks Access by State Regulators to Gas Well Explosion Site

One worker was killed February 11, 2014, when a Chevron gas well exploded near Bobtown, Pennsylvania, and burned for five days.  But inspectors from the state's Department of Environmental Protection were stopped by Chevron from approaching the site — thus keeping them from seeing possible safety violations. The DEP acquiesced at the time, but later cited Chevron for nine violations at the site.

"ER Symptoms ‘Consistent’ With MCHM Exposure"

"Hundreds of West Virginia residents who sought emergency-room care in January were treated for symptoms that were 'consistent' with exposure to MCHM, the primary chemical that leaked from the Freedom Industries tank farm into the region’s Elk River drinking-water supply, according to a review made public Wednesday."

Source: Charleston Gazette, 04/24/2014
April 22, 2014

SEJ Members and Friends Meetup, DC, April 22, 2014

SEJ WatchDog project director Joseph A. Davis (right) talks EJ with SEJ members and friends at Local 16.

Capitol Officials Call Reporter's Detention "Isolated", Apologize

U.S. Capitol officials apologized for the brief detention March 28, 2014, of BNA energy reporter Ari Natter, effectively conceding that such incidents should not occur. Apologies came from both Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terry Gainer and Capitol Police Chief Kim C. Dine in separate e-mail responses to an April 8 letter of complaint  from SEJ.

In Covering Chemical Spill, Ward Zags When Others Zig

In this excerpt from the latest issue of SEJournal (Spring), "Inside Story" editor Beth Daley interviews Charleston (WV) Gazette reporter Ken Ward Jr. — who is recognized nationally for his reporting on coal mining, the environment and workplace safety — about his unique work on the Freedom Industries spill story. Photo: The FI tank which leaked a coal-cleaning chemical into the river on Jan. 9, 2014, contaminating the drinking water of 300,000 West Virginians for weeks. Credit: Commercial Photography Services of WV via USCSB.

"Weak Records Cited on Pa. Shale Pollution"

"Even when pollution discharges from shale gas well pads and impoundments contaminate private water supplies, those violations often go unrecorded or publicly reported by state environmental regulators, according to documents filed in the Pennsylvania Superior Court case challenging the constitutionality of the state's oil and gas law, Act 13."

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 04/03/2014

NO QUESTIONS: Hill Reporter Detained After Questioning McCarthy

For decades reporters have staked out doorways in the U.S. Capitol in hopes of shouting questions at emerging bigwigs. But last week Bloomberg BNA energy reporter Ari Natter, trying to question EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, was briefly detained by Capitol Police. McCarthy declined to answer his question.

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