Carrying out a January 21 order by President Barack Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder has reversed the so-called "Ashcroft Memo," which had encouraged agencies during the George Bush presidency to err on the side of secrecy.
On March 6 a coalition of major ethanol producers (Growth Energy) formally requested that EPA raise the cap on the amount of ethanol that can be blended into US gasoline. EPA has 270 days to respond.
Recently released studies show that the problem of ever-increasing GHG emissions in the US could be even worse than the current data indicate, as additional substances are added to the list. A proposed EPA rule may help, if finalized.
After years of effort, and despite a last-minute gambit by the outgoing President Bush, US policy for offshore energy development is going back to the drawing board. DOI is extending by six months the public comment period on the country's 5-year plan.
USGS is scheduled to release on March 27, 2009, a report on the agency's analysis of 219 contaminants and physical and chemical properties that it investigated in 2,100 private drinking water wells in 48 states.
The Association of Health Care Journalists wrote the Obama administration asking it to end the practice of making reporters go through public affairs offices to arrange interviews with federal experts and, in some cases, having public affairs people monitor those interviews.
Hundreds of civic groups and individuals called on EPA March 1, 2009, to restore the Toxics Release Inventory to its former usefulness for informing people of what toxic chemicals companies are releasing into their air, water, and land.
There is a lot of useful government information that is freely available to journalists and the public online. Here are some examples from EPA that can be the building blocks of great stories.
A Bush-appointed holdover inspector general has teamed up with an ultraconservative Senator in a "plumber" operation aimed at punishing agency employees who revealed attempts to gut the Endangered Species Act via "midnight regulations."
SEJ and science journalism groups expressed opposition to a bill that would reverse current policy of free publication of scientific results coming from federal agencies.