July 11, 2012–If your local utility burns coal, there is likely an environmental story about coal ash to be reported near you. A FOIA request by the Environmental Integrity Project and Earthjustice has produced the identities of another 451 coal ash dumps (than previously listed by EPA), raising the total to at least 1161.
July 11, 2012–A large and diverse array of businesses have an interest in the environmental and energy laws that state legislatures consider: including coal, oil, plastics, chemicals, mining, forest products, and others. The possible financial stake lawmakers may have in the bills before them is fertile ground for investigation. Here's help in finding story ideas.
July 11, 2012–Under FOIA, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility requested FDA documents justifying its use of categorical exclusions to avoid assessing the environmental impact of not regulating livestock antibiotics. After FDA failed to provide any, PEER filed a lawsuit in federal district court.
July 11, 2012–A new OMB Watch report calls full advance disclosure of fracking fluid ingredients "the necessary first step" to protecting people's drinking water and concluded "no state has yet established all of the elements of a chemical disclosure policy strong enough to ensure the quality of the water and the health of communities near gas wells."
June 27, 2012–About two dozen chemicals in the 8.3 million gallons of fluid used to fracture a gas-bearing Marcellus Shale formation near Canton, Ohio were disclosed on a public website — but the identities of another four chemical ingredients were withheld on the claim that they were trade secrets. EnergyWire's Peter Behr takes a look at the controversy.
June 13, 2012–A new report from the IEA includes guidelines emphasizing transparency and the monitoring of environmental and social impacts. That includes full disclosure of fracking fluid ingredients and testing of baseline water and air conditions before drilling begins.
May 30, 2012–Claims of trade secrecy — often unsubstantiated — are a huge barrier to environmental reporters and others trying to find the truth about chemicals that may harm human health and the environment. But the FBI's billboards urge Americans to be vigilant against corporate insiders who may appear suspicious, and presumably to turn them in.
May 30, 2012–The Ohio legislature cleared a fracking bill May 24, 2012 that increases inspections of wells and requires drillers to hold liability insurance. But Reuters reports: "Many Democrats said the bill paves the way for the industry to hide information about toxic chemicals that could contaminate groundwater."
May 16, 2012–After backroom lobbying by gas and oil industry groups, the Obama White House watered down the promised fracking-fluid disclosure requirement promised earlier this year — imposing it only after completion of the fracking operation, when the information may have little effect (such as public pressure on BLM to deny a drilling permit).
May 16, 2012–A Chicago Tribune investigative series on flame retardant chemicals helps illustrate how federal agency control of what scientists say to reporters can help the chemical and tobacco industries. By reporter Michael Hawthorne.