Government

Toolbox: EPA "Data Finder" May Aid in Some Reporting Projects

If you want to take advantage of EPA databases to report on local (or even national) environmental conditions, this tool is a step beyond the all-in-one EPA data interfaces many journalists are used to, in that it catalogs some of the less-known specialized databases. It is unusual among government data programs in that it explicitly encourages third-party developers to build apps based on open agency data.

Will CA Gov. Brown Veto Budget Bill with Rider Gutting FOI Law?

[SEE UPDATE: Cal Assembly Walks Back CPRA Attack.] The last-minute sneak attack on open government was crafted and pushed through by Brown's own party. Local governments would be legally able to ignore the major requirements of the Public Records Law which force them to respond to freedom-of-information requests and justify any denial of requests.

Special Investigation: "The Lobbyist In The Henhouse"

Part 1: "Whose Interests Is Maine’s DEP Commissioner Serving?"

"For two years, public servant Patricia Aho has overseen Maine's environmental protection. But whom does she really serve? A seven-month investigation by the Telegram points to her former corporate clients. ... Overseen by a former chemical industry lobbyist, Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection resists regulations on substances that may be harmful to children and fetuses."

Source: Portland Press Herald, 06/18/2013

"U.S. Grants Exxon Another Extension for Ark. Spill Probe"

"Federal regulators [Wednesday] released an order granting Exxon Mobil Corp. its second extension to finish investigating the cause of a pipeline rupture that spilled an estimated 5,000 barrels of Canadian oil sands crude in the Arkansas suburb of Mayflower 10 weeks ago."

Source: E&E News PM, 06/13/2013

"Regulatory Nominee Vows to Speed Up Energy Reviews"

"The White House has blocked several Department of Energy regulations that would require appliances, lighting and buildings to use less energy and create less global-warming pollution, as part of a broader slowdown of new antipollution rules issued by the Obama administration."

Source: NY Times, 06/13/2013

"Presence of Explosive Chemicals Often Kept Secret"

"Fears of terrorism have made it harder than ever for citizens to find out what dangerous chemicals lurk in their backyards, The Associated Press has found. Secrecy and shoddy record-keeping have kept the public and emergency workers in the dark about stockpiles of explosive material."

Source: AP, 05/31/2013

Canadian Info Watchdog Probes Harper Govt's Muzzling of Scientists

Canada's Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault will be investigating the muzzling of Canadian scientists — a perennial complaint of SEJ's Canadian members who can not freely interview tax-funded scientists about subjects like climate. SEJ has twice urged Environment Canada to end such media policies, receiving no answer.

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