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.
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.
Several data resources can help journalists who want to develop stories about still-hazardous sites in their locality or region, including EPA's National Priorities List, CERCLIS database and state agencies.
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.
Whether pesticides harm the birds and bees — or human health — matters a lot. One of the public's protections is the requirement for disclosure in the nation's pesticide laws. Three groups, represented by Earthjustice, argue that EPA has authority under current federal pesticide law to require disclosure of inert ingredients.
Disclosure issues have been in the news of late — especially the war over research on genetically modified organisms. Now journalist Sara Reardon, in Nature News & Comment, has taken a deep look at disclosure policies at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
New expert background reports of interest to environmental journalists and the public have been published by the Federation of American Scientists Project on Government Secrecy.
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, which runs satellites collecting geodata both classified and unclassified, has put up a new Web page with Arctic information. It just went up, and it's as little geeky, but it shows promise for longer-term utility.
Investigative reporting in the environmental area depends on the Freedom of Information Act. The latest exposé on GMO lobbying in the New York Times by double-Pulitzer-winner Eric Lipton is a good example.
You'd think there shouldn't be such a thing as a secret oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Earlier this year, the Associated Press uncovered an offshore well in the Gulf that had been leaking for a decade. Now — thanks to a lawsuit from environmentalists — the details will be revealed.