EJToday: Top Headlines
EJToday is SEJ's selection of new and outstanding stories on environmental topics in print and on the air, updated every weekday. SEJ also offers a free e-mailed digest of the day's EJToday postings, called SEJ-beat. SEJ members are subscribed automatically, but may opt out here. Non-members may subscribe here. EJToday is also available via RSS feed. Please see Editorial Guidelines for EJToday content.
As all-electric cars are just arriving in showrooms, there is a new movie out called "Revenge of the Electric Car." It's by Chris Paine, who directed the 2006 documentary, "Who Killed the Electric Car?"
One UK blogger thinks that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) risks alienating supporters by using pornographic posters to promote its cause. PETA has proven expert over the years at getting free publicity by creating controversy. Should we even be covering this coverage?
"Federal agencies turned in progress reports to the White House this week on their scientific integrity policies, but officials are saying little about how far along agencies have come in protecting scientists' work from political meddling."
Mark Twain was not only one of America's most under-appreciated nature writers, but he may also have been the Jon Stewart of his time -- blending satire with acute journalistic observation to puncture received wisdom with real truth. Francesca Lyman starts a discussion on the subject in Sacramento -- Twain's old stomping grounds.
"Japanese officials struggled through the day on Tuesday to explain why it had taken them a month to disclose large-scale releases of radioactive material in mid-March at a crippled nuclear power plant, as the government and an electric utility disagreed on the extent of continuing problems there."
"The Government Accountability Office is preparing to issue a report that rebukes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for saying in 2004 that elevated levels of lead in the District’s tap water did not pose a public health threat and for failing to quickly clarify its findings as complaints mounted."
"It’s the kind of accountability journalism that makes readers raise an eyebrow, if it doesn’t raise their blood pressure first. General Electric Co., reported the New York Times last week, earned $14.2 billion in worldwide profits last year, including $5.1 billion in the United States — and paid exactly zero dollars in federal taxes."
"A conservative research group in Michigan has issued a far-reaching public records request to the labor studies departments at three public universities in the state, seeking any e-mails involving the Wisconsin labor turmoil." Among the professors under assault by the secretive conservatives is William Cronon, one of the foremost environmental historians in the United States.
"Hydraulic fracturing, an increasingly common method of extracting natural gas that involves shooting a concoction of water, sand and chemicals deep underground, has sparked controversy around the country — not least because drillers mostly keep their chemical formulas secret. But Texas, the leading gas-producing state, could help change industry practices by requiring public disclosure of the chemicals used."
"TEPCO says it's not hiding anything, but critics have complained for years that it and other Japanese nuclear power plant operators have withheld information about safety violations and accidents."
"An Idaho House committee supported Wednesday a move to seal off more data related to confined-animal feeding operations from the public eye, making it harder for the public to tell if state regulations are enforced."
"Two outlets today nailed issues raised by the behavior of Japan’s government leaders and the utility company whose Fukushima Deiichi power station is suffering multiple losses of control and breached containment, and the behavior of many and perhaps most media in trying to tell the story, warn the public, and stay within the bounds of reason."
"The chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission was invited to the White House briefing today to assure Americans that they had nothing to fear from the nuclear radiation coming out of Japan's damaged reactors and that the nuclear reactors in the United States were safe. When he was finished taking questions there was very little reassurance on either front." In Japan, residents are beginning to wonder whether they can trust government reassurances that radiation levels present little threat to human health.
"U.S. EPA's plan to give businesses another three years to show how they calculate their greenhouse gas emissions will weaken the agency's new reporting requirements and could be illegal, environmental groups said before yesterday's deadline to comment on the proposal."
The U.S. Supreme Court Monday issued the second ruling in recent days narrowing exemptions to the Freedom of Information Act -- and thus increasing public access to government information. In the case of Milner v. Department of the Navy, the court rejected an expansive interpretation of the FOIA exemption on personnel matters. The Society of Environmental Journalists had joined other journalism groups in a friend of the court brief urging a narrower exemption.