Interested in water quality at the local and watershed level? Not only does the multi-agency "Water Quality Portal" offer large amounts of measurements of water quality in specific lakes and streams — but EPA is offering free training on how to use it via a Webinar.
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EPA bowed to industry, ruling in a January 3, 2013 memo that local drinking water utilities no longer have to notify their customers of contamination in writing. "The memo fails to set clear standards for electronic notification and delivery and makes it likely that segments of the public will have less access to these reports," the Center for Effective Government wrote in response to the EPA memo.
A geeky nonprofit watchdog group has done what government and private industry have failed to do; the group, SkyTruth, has made data about the ingredients in fracking fluid easily accessible to the public.
The gas industry won itself an exemption from disclosure requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act in 2005. But now environmentalists have a new angle, claiming EPA has authority to compel disclosure under a different law (the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act) — and urging EPA to use it.
Fifteen environmental and public health groups say EPA had not allowed sufficient time for public review, only put relevant information into its docket at the last minute, and emphasized easing a "burden" utilities had lived with for years at the expense of protecting the public.
Some utilities want to get rid of the requirement — substituting online notification, even for water customers who lack Internet connections. A legislative effort to ease the notification requirement failed in the Senate in summer 2012. Now EPA is starting procedures which might lead to doing the same thing by rulemaking. Deadline for comments is October 11, 2012.
Five years after wildlife biologist Charles Monnett's 2006 observations of dead polar bears, believed to have drowned because of disappearing Arctic ice, Interior started an investigation of Monnett's science. The findings — partially published September 28, 2012 — were confused and contained no findings of scientific misconduct.Region:
In this issue: How Carson's Silent Spring shapes modern environmentalism; Florida's lost wildlife highways; an interview with San Antonio Express-News enviro-adventure reporter Colin McDonald; bridging the journalism/science divide; SEJ Awards winners; EPA's ECHO database, your two-faced best friend; and more.SEJ Publication Types:
The Congressional Research Service regularly produces objective and informative background material on matters of interest to environmental journalists. Because Congress refuses to release these reports to the public, the WatchDog links to leaked versions published by the Project on Government Secrecy of the Federation of American Scientists.
A retired University of Alaska professor, represented by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, went to court for the testing data on which Interior's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement approval was based, after the agency violated the FOIA by not responding within the required 20-day period.Region: