It's hard to believe that some of the reports Congress demands of federal agencies are not available to the public. But it's true — not because the reports are classified but because neither the agencies nor Congress bothers to publish them.
- SEJ Publication Types:Topics on the Beat:Region:Visibility:
As soon as he arrived in office, President Obama promised to bring an unprecedented openness to the federal government. A mid-term report by a watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, concludes that Obama's promise has yet to be met.Topics on the Beat:Region:
Is the federal government covering up mine disasters? The Mine Safety and Health Administration was certainly not going out of its way to dispel that impression when it waited seven years to produce records sought by Ellen Smith, editor of Mine Safety and Health News.Region:
More than 150 years of historical hurricane information, including accompanying population data, for coastal US locations impacted by these storms may be a helpful tool for preparing for and covering this issue locally.
The National Institute on Money in State Politics collects data about spending related to state-level races in all 50 states, codes and collates it, and presents it all in a searchable online database.Topics on the Beat:
Specific or broad environmental issues could play a role as voters decide which candidate to choose in many races. At the same time, the environment continues to score way down the list, according to pollsters, when voters are asked about all their priorities.
The press policy documents, obtained by Margaret Munro of Postmedia News, reveal scientists must get permission to talk to the press — and climate science and oil sands are off limits. Any statements on those topics must be approved by political appointees at the ministerial level.
The revised policy puts the onus on political appointees as well as scientists, declares a presumption of openness in public access to scientific information generated at the agency, and affirms the right of scientific employees to talk to news media and investigative agencies.
SEJ was one of the groups that opposed HR 801, a bill by House Judiciary Chairman John H. Conyers which would allow private journal publishers to copyright scientific articles based on federally funded research.
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration withholds data about pipeline condition and inspections, meaning pipeline explosions caused by preventable and fixable corrosion are far more likely to kill Americans than any caused by terrorists.