WatchDog TipSheet

Liberals Unmuzzle Canadian Scientists; Will U.S. Scientists Be Next?

The speed and ease of this Canadian revolution by incoming Prime Minister Justin Trudeau belies the "common wisdom" among many jaded reporters and PR professionals that muzzling of U.S. government scientists and officials is somehow inevitable and woven into the culture of government.

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White House Unveils Third Open Government "Action Plan"

"Action" may be too strong a word. For that matter, "open" may be too strong a word. The Obama administration Tuesday unveiled its third "National Action Plan" at the international Open Government Partnership in Mexico. But note that many items are held over from the second plan because they have not yet been accomplished.

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WyoFile Publishes Photos in Defiance of State's Censorship Law

Wyoming's legislature calls it "data trespass." Really? The state in March 2015 made it illegal to collect and report information about stream pollution or other environmental harm — when it involves entering private land. One independent publication invited its readers to collect and post such potentially illegal photos.

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EPA Intends To Add Natural Gas Processing Plants to Toxics Inventory

Administrator Gina McCarthy revealed October 22, 2015, that the U.S. EPA intends to add some natural gas processing facilities to the Toxics Release Inventory, a searchable online database of many of the largest discharges of toxic substances to air, water, and land — and a key tool for environmental journalists.

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Are There Limits to FOIA Access to Research E-Mails?

A war has broken out over academic emails — a war seemingly between academic freedom and the public's right to know. The smoking emails have prompted scandals galore, and produced stories. The issue got an airing in a plenary session October 9, 2015, at SEJ's Annual Conference. The WatchDog has details.

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NICAR To Publish Long-Suppressed National Inventory of Dams

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has for years suppressed full disclosure of the National Inventory of Dams, once a key tool for journalists reporting on dam safety — or the government's failure to ensure it. Now that tool is back in the toolbox ... mostly.

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Was EPA Forthcoming with Mine Spill Water Data? Depends Whom You Ask

Access to water quality data was an issue at one highly politicized House hearing on the August 5, 2015, toxic spill from a long-abandoned mine near Silverton, Colorado, where New Mexico Secretary of Environment Ryan Flynn accused EPA of refusing for weeks to share data on the quality of waters fouled by the spill.

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