This year's Farm Bill deliberations have been less transparent than ever before. In that spirit, SEJ's WatchDog shares a backgrounder, published by the Federation of American Scientists, on the 2012 Farm Bill done by the Congressional Research Service — which keeps their taxpayer-funded reports secret from the public.
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In response to a request for live-streaming of the trial, the judge has expanded the gag order for the case, a class-action lawsuit seeking medical monitoring for people who may have been exposed to hazardous chemicals produced at Monsanto's former plant in Nitro, W.V.Region:
It remains to be seen how successful the House will be in timely posting of electronic versions of bills — especially when they are thousand-page appropriations bills being rammed through at the last minute. The WatchDog will be watching to see if bills are published electronically well before subcommittee markups begin.
According to the Los Angeles Times, recent directives from the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force suggest that merely filming commercial acts of cruelty to animals could be a terrorist offense — something that now can lead to indefinite military detention without trial.
Colorado, which adopted its disclosure rules December 13, 2011, joins Texas, Pennsylvania, and several other states in requiring some disclosure by drillers of the chemicals they pump into shale formations under high pressures to release natural gas. Scores of chemicals, some very toxic, may be involved.
The Portland judge ruled that blogger Crystal Cox, who published allegations against businessman Kevin Padrick and was subsequently sued by Padrick for defamation, was not a journalist as she lacked any conventional journalistic credentials or affiliations, and therefore was not entitled to the protections of the state's shield law.Region:
The San Francisco Chronicle revealed almost all records of the state's Public Utilities Commission, which regulates pipelines, are secret — and the PUC typically asks permission from the utility companies before releasing any information. In most other states, such information is freely available to the public.Region:
The Center for Progressive Reform looked at public records on 1,080 meetings held between October 2001 and June 2011 between the White House Office of Management and Budget and lobbyists from various interest groups. Results show the Obama administration is as bad as the Bush administration when it comes to secret meetings with industry to weaken environmental health and safety regulations.
On Nov. 9, 2011, EPA signed a consent decree that requires the agency to receive from and approve a State Implementation Plan for DC, VI, and 43 states that don't have a fully approved one. Each state can determine how it wants to reduce haze. In some cases, the plan will rely on actions already taken, such as reductions in emissions from power plants or vehicles.SEJ Publication Types:
The regulatory proposal was part of a large package of revised FOIA regulations, which will go forward without it. The Justice Department did not rescind the 1987 Meese memo the proposal was based on; instead it identified ways in which agencies could be unresponsive and uninformative without actually lying.