WatchDog TipSheet

You Aren't Allowed To Know How Much of Your Coal Is Being Sold (Cheap?)

The vast coal seams below federally owned lands in the West are a resource owned by the American people as a whole — and when rights to mine them are sold to coal companies, it is supposed to be on terms that are in the public interest. So you'd think public scrutiny via open information would be a given. The Interior Department says not, recently denying a FOIA request for this information. Image: © Clipart.com.

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SEJ Objects To Prosecution of Journalists Covering Pipeline Protests

UPDATE: The Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) on Oct 19, 2016 wrote law enforcement officials at the state and federal levels, objecting to prosecution of journalists who have been covering protests against the Dakota Access Pipe Line and other pipelines. The prosecutor who charged Democracy Now's Amy Goodman has responded to SEJ's letter.

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Reporters Committee, Others Launch FOIA Wiki Beta: Help Is on the Way

A promising new resource has begun helping reporters trying to use the Freedom of Information Act to pry loose government information relevant to their stories. The "FOIA Wiki" is a collaborative and explanatory collection of information meant to help you.

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NFOIC Meets Amid New Open-Government Challenges of Digital Revolution

Investigative journalism is hardly about paper documents anymore. The cutting edge today is more likely to be requests for emails, as well as text messages, chats and other electronic communications such as Slack. This big challenge was front and center at the recent meeting of the National Freedom of Information Coalition.

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Investigative Journalism Lives! — CMD Exposes GOP on Clean Air Plan

Patience, attention to detail, and public-records requests can still get you a bombshell story on the environmental beat. One recently tied coal and oil company megabucks to Republican attorneys general challenging the Clean Power Plan (CPP) in court.

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Impaired Waters Lists: A Tool for Water Pollution Reporting

Summer algal blooms, seafood advisories, and beach closures remind us that water pollution has not gone away, and environmental journalists can still find loads of local and regional stories about it — if they dig. Here's a tool that can help. Image: © Clipart.com.

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Pork Producers Win Appeal in CAFO Disclosure Case

In addition to nuisance smells, confined animal feeding operations (aka CAFOs) can present serious air and water pollution problems. They are weakly regulated. Now a federal appeals court says information on who owns those feedlots can be kept secret. Image: © Clipart.com.

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Miami Herald Sues County for Location of Zika Mosquitoes, Gets It

Miami-Dade county had stiff-armed a request from the Herald for the information, and denied a FOIA request. The county claimed the information was exempt for public health reasons. Photo: © Clipart.com.

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