Congress mandated a mandatory "registry" of greenhouse gas emissions with $3.5 million tucked into the final fiscal 2008 omnibus appropriations bill it passed late in 2007.
The U.S. Congress can be even more frustrating to cover than executive agencies.
Even as major companies recalled their shipments of hamburgers made with possibly tainted meat, beef and pork lobbyists worked hard to keep U.S meat eaters from finding out what was going on. They lobbied to amend the Farm Bill to include secrecy language that would make make it illegal for anyone to publicly disclose such information. SEJ and other journalism organization are urging senators to remove that language from the bill.
Reporters starved for environmental information and desperate for local story ideas, rejoice. Well, at least don't look so glum. EPA has thrown you a bone or two with its newly redesigned web site.
The Smithsonian Institution, a federal agency with many environment-related research and public education activities, opposes a Congressional move that would subject it to the same open-records law that applies to other executive branch agencies.
The fifth annual report card produced by OpenTheGovernment.org offers hard numbers from a range of indicators that Bush Administration secrecy continues.
A Congressional Research Service report on terrorism and security issues facing sewage treatment and drinking water plants, dams and reservoirs, and other water infrastructure is full of ideas that reporters could turn into local stories — if only they were allowed to see it.
This database is useful for environmental and energy reporters looking for mischief perpetrated by government officials and the industries who influence them with money.
Concerns over emissions from formaldehyde in pressed-wood products have been building for many years. California's new rules addressing the problem went into effect Jan. 1, 2009. Now EPA is looking at following suit.
If you need information on land use changes over time, or on current land uses and character, you may want to check out decades-worth of globe-spanning satellite images that USGS has made freely available to the public.