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."
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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).
After complaints from BP, the US government agreed to give the company evidence of the basis for its calculation of the flow rate from the stricken Deepwater Horizon well in the Gulf of Mexico. The government will hand over to BP some 100 documents about the size of the 2010 oil spill that have not yet been made public.Topics on the Beat:
If you have a fracking story in your beat, getting information about what's in the controversial fracking fluids may be like pulling teeth. But there are a few resources that can help, such as the "FracFocus" chemical disclosure registry.Topics on the Beat:
One sign of problems came when Interior's Inspector General office launched what seemed to be a ham-handed investigation, later dropped, into activities of the scientist who sounded the alarm on polar bears losing habitat to global warming. Now Interior has fired one of its scientific integrity officers — who is defending himself by saying he was just doing his job.Topics on the Beat:
Bill Dawson has the "Inside Story" on ex-CNN science, environment, weather and technology executive producer Peter Dykstra's return to the journalism fold.SEJ Publication Types:
In this issue: Getting into the (Clean Water) Act; SEJ's grant program has real impact on reporting; indie enviro films at Sundance; election year buzzwords; sneak preview of SEJ's 2012 conference, Lubbock, Texas; web tool DocumentCloud brings documents to life; ex-CNN executive producer Dykstra returns to journalism; meteorologists as environmental journalists; SEJ members honored, produce videos, win awards and grants; and 5 book reviews! (Why wait 3 months for access to each quarterly issue? Get your Summer/Fall issue now: how to join or subscribe.)SEJ Publication Types:
The Coast Guard defines "security zones" to protect certain sensitive facilities in its bailiwick. It does sometimes grant permission for boats to transit these zones. We suggest journalists interested in such maritime investigations contact their local Coast Guard district or station first.
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Stormwater becomes a big media story during disasters such as floods and hurricane surges, and it's essential to cover the basics then. But there are dozens of related issues that can contribute to the disaster, and covering them in advance can help your audience understand ways of possibly preventing the peak crises.SEJ Publication Types: