As SEJournal's part during Sunshine Week, we've put together a step-by-step for filing your own Freedom of Information Act requests. Find out about best practices for waiving fees, expediting requests, pushing back on exemptions, appealing FOIA denials and using state open-records laws. [Image: © Clipart.com]
It's Sunshine Week, and open government events are scheduled around the United States. This month's WatchDog TipSheet has a rundown, plus news on SEJ concerns over restrictions to press access at FERC meetings, on a 7,564-page FOIA email dump on EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and more.
As the Trump administration proposes big cuts at environmental agencies like the U.S. EPA, the latest TipSheet explores how to dig up local angles from the budget action. Examples: Tracking changes at EPA regional offices and labs, at Superfund or at state revolving funds for clean water and safe drinking water programs.
"Cities from Oslo to Sydney are setting goals to curb climate change that exceed national targets, causing tensions with central governments about who controls policy over green energy and transport and construction."
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, "a former Oklahoma attorney general who built a career out of suing the agency he now leads, has moved to stock the top offices of the agency with like-minded conservatives — many of them skeptics of climate change and all of them intent on rolling back environmental regulations that they see as overly intrusive and harmful to business."
Wondering what WOTUS is? Or how the Clean Water Rule relates to the Clean Water Act and to the Section 404 permitting program meant to prevent the destruction of U.S. wetlands? Our Beat Basics column explains the history and background of the rule to help you cover White House, EPA and court action likely ahead.
As questions arise about how thoroughly the U.S. EPA's new administrator Scott Pruitt (left) will enforce environmental regulations, reporters can get at the story through EPA’s own exhaustive enforcement database. TipSheet provides a step-by-step on how to use data resources to follow trends and find bad actors.
Bobby Magill, in his most recent SEJ President's Report, recalls his time traversing federal wilderness areas that are now increasingly the subject of dispute. How are they to be used? Who is to hold them? Will these vast Western lands remain in the public domain? And what is the role of journalists in covering this story?
"Hundreds of scientists put aside their habitual wariness toward political activity and rallied over the weekend in Boston’s Copley Square, with many saying the Trump administration has left them no choice."
"The Department of Energy has taken down its public-facing employee directory, making it far more difficult for journalists and members of the public to locate email addresses and phone numbers for agency personnel."