July 11, 2012–A large and diverse array of businesses have an interest in the environmental and energy laws that state legislatures consider: including coal, oil, plastics, chemicals, mining, forest products, and others. The possible financial stake lawmakers may have in the bills before them is fertile ground for investigation. Here's help in finding story ideas.
June 13, 2012–The rebellion against commercial and subscription-only publishers over public access to articles based on taxpayer-funded research is gaining ground. The Directory — free, searchable and online — already includes some 819742, full-text, scientific or scholarly articles in 7885 journals.
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.
May 2, 2012–For reporters wanting to pry open the worm-cans of local environmental stories, EPA's new GIS tool lets you map Environmental Impact Statements project information against a rich backdrop: layer after layer of geographic, demographic, environmental, and economic context. And, it can be used in conjunction with EJView, EPA's environmental justice online mapping tool.
May 2, 2012–Here are some recent reports by the Congressional Research Service related to the environment/energy beat. Congress does not release them to the public. We again thank the Federation of American Scientists' Government Secrecy Project for doing so.
May 2, 2012–OMB sat on the Office of Government Information Services recommendations for over a year, until a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in March 2012 demanded OMB release the recommendations, which finally happened April 24th. However, no recommendations for legislative change were included. Nobody knows what, if any, legislative recommendations OGIS may have originally proposed.
May 2, 2012–Now there is research proving what reporters have known all along, thanks to a survey from the Society of Professional Journalists. SPJ commissioned work by survey research professionals who canvassed newsgatherers during January-February 2012. Here are some of the findings and a link to the full report.
April 18, 2012–Reporter Michael Booth's story resurrected the old issue of whether the public has a right to know the identity and source of foods in commerce that government agencies actually know may be causing fatal illness. The FDA refused to comment on the story.
April 4, 2012–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.
March 21, 2012–On December 27, 2012, EPA submitted to the Office of Management and Budget its proposal to alter the interpretation of the Toxic Substances Control Act to require disclosure of the identities of the chemicals subject to health-effects studies before they are used in manufactured products. On January 20, 2012, a secret meeting took place between OMB officials and chemical industry lobbyists. We don't know what they talked about, but we do know that the meeting took place and who attended it.