While issues like climate change have gained little traction in the presidential race, environmental topics are playing a clearer role in some congressional contests, as well in statehouse and local elections. At the same time, a number of controversial ballot initiatives are tackling environmental topics ranging from plastic bag bans to solar energy. Get info and resources in our Election 2016 Issue Backgrounder.
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Food industry groups generally liked the new rule, saying that it improved transparency. But consumer groups said it did not go far enough. Image: © Clipart.com.
Embroiled in a growing scandal about efforts to cover up the science on the threat posed by coal ash to North Carolinians' drinking water, Duke Energy is asking a court to hold a hearing to discover the source of a document leaked to the Associated Press.Topics on the Beat:
Consumers learned in late July of a "voluntary" recall of some processed food products due to possible metal fragments in sugar used to make them. The source of the contaminated sugar remains unknown, because federal law protects "trade secrets" — putting protection of companies above protection of the public. Image: © Clipart.com.
If the water coming from your tap is unfit to drink, you have a right to know. But the crisis in Flint, Michigan, is challenging that assumption. Meanwhile, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (pictured) apologized to the residents of Flint, and "pledged to promptly release his emails about the issue," according to the New York Times.Region:
States often keep consumer complaint data, and it may be available under public records laws. The nonprofit consumer group Truth in Advertising recently finished a review of all 50 U.S. states' consumer complaint databases — and how easy they were to access.Topics on the Beat:
The battleground over transparency on food origins and ingredients is much wider than labeling of foods that contain genetically modified ingredients, as journalist Elizabeth Grossman points out in a recent piece in Civil Eats.
The American Beverage Association, California State Outdoor Advertising Association and California Retailers Association sued San Francisco for requiring health warnings on advertisements for certain sugary beverages when posted on city property, saying it violates their First Amendment rights.Region:
The WatchDog has long whined about Congress' mystifying refusal to let taxpayers read Congressional Research Service reports the taxpayers have paid for. A June 17, 2015, editorial in the New York Times called the situation "absurd," expressing hope that a new director of the Library of Congress (home of the CRS) would manage to get the policy changed.
Some environmental reporters find or research stories by browsing science journals. But difficulty of access to those journals is a common barrier to robust, science-based journalism. The barriers have been getting worse, says a new study — in a science journal.