FOIA reform: it's all over but the shouting — and the implementation. The package of amendments to FOIA features codification of the "presumption of openness," would establish a single online federal portal for FOIA requests and strengthen the role of the Office of Government Information Services. Image: Clipart.com.
- SEJ Publication Types:Topics on the Beat:Visibility:
The draft Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) treaty is still being kept secret from the hundreds of millions of people whom it will affect. It matters for environmental journalists as trade treaties often set up mechanisms for corporations to negate the environmental laws of signatory countries. Image: WikiLeaks.
Senator Charles Grassley's opinion matters because he chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over FOIA. He also sits on the Senate Agriculture Committee.
Some commenters say Donald Trump has declared "war on the press." But Hillary Clinton has herself given little access to the news media during the campaign so far. Worse yet, parts of the news media seem to be making the problem worse, by not advocating for press freedom and open information. Profits and ratings have trumped the First Amendment.
Open government groups have started a 50-day countdown to the law's 50th anniversary. It remains to be seen whether Congress can send President Obama a fix-FOIA bill by that date. Image: © Clipart.com.Topics on the Beat:
The Senate-passed bill contains an explicit exemption from permits and fees for newsgathering. A House energy bill, now going to conference to be reconciled with the Senate bill, contains no newsgathering exemption. But that's not the end of the story. Image courtesy of NPS.
Here are the latest leaked explainers, written by the Congressional Research Service, that may be of use to environmental journalists.Topics on the Beat:
- SEJ Publication Types:
Black Belt Citizens Fighting for Health and Justice says the landfill, which has accepted millions of pounds of coal ash from the 2008 Tennessee spill, violates their civil rights. The community surrounding the landfill is predominantly poor and African-American.
The Congressional Research Service has compiled a side-by-side analysis comparing the two bills. With only a few months of real work remaining in this volatile election year, it is not a sure thing that Congress will clear the legislation. Open-government groups on March 16, 2016, urged Obama to declare support for the legislation.