The maintenance backlog at the National Park System is nearly $12 billion, and a hot button issue for various constituencies. But don't look for spending to clear it up any time soon, with major budget cuts proposed. This week's TipSheet outlines the issues, and provides resources and perspectives to cover the story.
"LAKE STATION, Ind. — This hard-luck town just south of Chicago is weighing a decision confronting many small and midsize cities with shrinking populations and chronic budget deficits: whether to sell the public water system to a for-profit corporation."
Unlike his predecessors, new EPA head Scott Pruitt isn't publishing his calendar. Pushback from enviros, plus, EPA's scrubbed climate info starts reappearing on city websites around the country. That and news on a Dakota Access Pipeline FOIA and on reporters fighting for Capitol Hill access in this month's WatchDog.
Even though big proposed budget cuts may be DOA for the Interior Department, it doesn't mean there aren't a wide range of land and resource-related stories emerging from the debates. The latest TipSheet sets the scene and offers a half-dozen ways to localize the Interior Department funding story.
"The Environmental Protection Agency plans on shedding more than 1,200 employees by early September through buyouts and early retirements, as part of a broader push by the Trump administration to shrink a government entity the president once promised to eliminate 'in almost every form.'"
"The Energy Department is closing an office that works with other countries to develop clean energy technology, another sign of the Trump administration’s retreat on climate-related activities after its withdrawal from the Paris agreement this month."
"FLINT, Mich. — By the time Robert Skidmore, an 85-year-old former auto industry worker, died in late 2015, officials had seen signs for months that Flint was wrestling with outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease, prosecutors say. Yet despite a wave of such cases in 2014 and 2015, no public warning was issued until early 2016."
"Female Forest Service workers in California reported enduring sexual misconduct, harassment and a fear of retaliation if they complained, according to a previously unreleased study obtained by McClatchy under the Freedom of Information Act."
As some warned, federal environmental agencies have begun to purge web info on topics like climate change. WatchDog TipSheet has that story, plus items about an unusual libel lawsuit, a news outfit using satellite for groundtruthing, a new source of online water data, how journalists can protect against surveillance and more.
"The Environmental Protection Agency plans to set aside $12 million for buyouts and early retirements in coming months, as part of an effort to begin “reshaping” the agency’s workforce under the Trump administration."