Health

In Covering Chemical Spill, Ward Zags When Others Zig

In this excerpt from the latest issue of SEJournal (Spring), "Inside Story" editor Beth Daley interviews Charleston (WV) Gazette reporter Ken Ward Jr. — who is recognized nationally for his reporting on coal mining, the environment and workplace safety — about his unique work on the Freedom Industries spill story. Photo: The FI tank which leaked a coal-cleaning chemical into the river on Jan. 9, 2014, contaminating the drinking water of 300,000 West Virginians for weeks. Credit: Commercial Photography Services of WV via USCSB.

Appeals Court Radically Expands FOIA 'Safety' Exemption

A federal appeals court created a sweeping and dangerous precedent January 22, 2014, when it ruled the U.S. public had no right to know whether it is endangered by failures of federal dam safety agencies to do their jobs. If the ruling stands, federal agencies could withhold from disclosure almost any information showing federal failure to protect the public from infrastructure dangers.

EWG Database Helps Public, Journos Find Drinking Water Threats

While EPA and local utilities make much data available online, the Environmental Working Group has compiled a tap water database that is much easier to use. It gathers data from the states as well as from EPA, and compiles city-by-city rankings of the best and worst drinking water quality. It also explains the health significance of contaminants and lists contaminants not regulated by EPA.

SEJ, SPJ Urge EPA, CDC to End Press Office Obstacles in Public Health Crises

Reporters scrambling to inform the 300,000 citizens of Charleston, West Virginia, about why they could not drink their tap water, what health threats it presented, and who was responsible faced a stone wall from most of the responsible government agencies in the early days of the crisis.

Peril in the Ponds

BookShelf

 

"Peril in the Ponds: Deformed Frogs, Politics, and a Biologist’s Quest"

By Judy Helgen
University of Massachusetts Press, $24.95

Reviewer: KAREN SCHAEFER

In mid-August of 1995, at a small farmhouse pond near St. Paul, Minn., Judy Helgen dipped her hand into a bucket of frogs captured by local students.

As she grasped a squirmy amphibian, her stomach churned.

Senate GOPers Seek To Hide Silica Science Funding

OSHA's proposed silica rule "requests" (not requires) that commenters state clearly who paid for any research they cite and declare whether there may be possible conflicts of interest or whether the funder of the research may have influenced its findings. But 16 Senate Republicans have complained of OSHA's request for funding disclosure.

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