The WatchDog attended EPA's annual training conference for government workers on the Toxics Release Inventory, Nov. 1-3, 2010. See a preview of the showcased offerings, which have extra emphasis on environmental justice and EPA data tools ranging far beyond TRI.
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The BLM is documenting where the mines are, and ramping up efforts to mitigate threats from them, such as water contamination, traps for people and animals, and deteriorating old explosives lurking in some dark corners.
If EPA's health-based primary standard is reduced from its current level of 75 parts per billion to 60 ppb, which is the low end of what the agency's science advisors have recommended, about 67% of the US population would live in monitored counties that would be out of compliance.
Photojournalists doing environmental stories have been harassed and blocked by federal police for a decade or more when they try to take pictures of federal facilities from public spaces. Now, under a court settlement, the federal government is publicly acknowledging that it is acting illegally when it does this.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.