December 12, 2012–Is the public entitled to see documents that may bear on the safety of a for-profit utility's plan to restart the flaw-stricken San Onofre nuclear plant in California? Maybe not. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Atomic Safety and Licensing Board ruled the utility must turn the documents over to the board — but currently plans to keep them secret from the public.
June 13, 2012–A company wants to mine Virginia's major uranium deposit so the state formed a multi-agency panel to study ending the three-decade ban on uranium mining. That panel hired a consulting firm that critics say was stacked with experts affiliated with the nuclear industry.
May 30, 2012–The federal Data.gov, while not perfect, has grown over three years especially strong in datasets from federal agencies that deal with the environment, energy, natural resources, health, and science. Many of them are downloadable, so that you can crunch them on your own computer. Several are map layers or geo-tagged in some way. See a few randomly chosen examples here.
March 21, 2012–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.
January 25, 2012–Here, courtesy of the Federation of American Scientists, are some recent Congressional Research Service backgrounders that may be useful to environment/energy reporters, on chemical facility security, nuclear power plant design and seismic safety considerations, and proposed Keystone XL pipeline legal issues.
June 29, 2011–Congress still forbids the Congressional Research Service to release publicly reports that taxpayers have paid for. Thanks to groups like the Federation of American Scientists, however, taxpayers can read the reports online despite the charade.
June 1, 2011–A World Health Organization panel finds cell phone radiation might present a cancer risk , and spotlights ongoing reluctance by the Federal Communications Commission to share publicly all the health information it has on the subject — and possible complicity with industry in hushing the research.
May 18, 2011–By publishing the list promptly, NRC lived up to the "reading room" provisions of FOIA — which require agencies to actively publish information likely to be the subject of multiple FOIA requests. As a reporter, see what your competitors are doing. As a FOIA requester, you may learn a lot about how to write a FOIA letter that is realistic yet effective.