Government

Coast Guard Spill Database Rendered Almost Useless for Reporters

There used to be a searchable, online database of oil and chemical spill reports that reporters could turn to in an emergency to get insight into important breaking news. But ham-handed security efforts have sabotaged the public's right to know. Right now, emergency responders are working on a spill of a cancer-causing fuel additive known as MTBE. But news reporters probably couldn't get much if any helpful information from the database today (we checked).

FOIA-Strengthening Bills Come Back to Life in House and Senate

A bill to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act awaits Senate floor action. But the Obama administration, which once pledged to be the most open in history, has so far been strangely silent. Crickets. "Worries from the agencies are whispered into lawmakers' ears," wrote E&E Publishing's Kevin Bogardus.

"Group Wants Probe of Whether Fla. Banned Climate-Change Talk"

"Did Florida Gov. Rick Scott's administration ban state environmental scientists from using the terms 'climate change' and 'global warming' in their work? ... Now, an environmental group is asking for a state investigation to get to the bottom of it."

Source: AP, 03/11/2015

Activists, Scientists Blast Scott for "Orwellian" Ban on Climate Talk

"Climate change activists blasted Florida Governor Rick Scott on Monday for leading an 'Orwellian' campaign to ban employees of the state's lead environmental agency from using such terms as 'global warming' and 'climate change.'"

Source: Reuters, 03/10/2015

Groups FOIA Federal Rules for Allowing Petroleum Export Ban Exceptions

For decades, U.S. politicians have made energy independence a patriotic platitude — with one result being a ban on exporting crude oil produced in the U.S. Now some oil companies are getting exceptions to the export ban for a product called "condensate," and the Commerce Department won't say why. So a coalition of environmental groups have filed a Freedom of Information Act request to find out.

‘Anti-Petroleum’ Movement a Growing Security Threat To Canada: Mounties

"The RCMP has labelled the 'anti-petroleum' movement as a growing and violent threat to Canada’s security, raising fears among environmentalists that they face increased surveillance, and possibly worse, under the Harper government’s new terrorism legislation."

Source: Toronto Globe & Mail, 02/19/2015

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