An initiative involving some 35 nations aims to solve many complex revenue-reporting problems, including improving the flow of information across national borders. But solutions can't even begin until individual nations get a grip on accurate data about extractive industries within their own borders. The results could illuminate key environmental policy issues.
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Environmental journalists are still waiting to see whether EPA revises the draft Scientific Integrity Policy in which it claims the right to keep scientists from talking to reporters without press office permission — and have Saddam-style "minders" sit in on interviews.
The regulatory proposal was part of a large package of revised FOIA regulations, which will go forward without it. The Justice Department did not rescind the 1987 Meese memo the proposal was based on; instead it identified ways in which agencies could be unresponsive and uninformative without actually lying.
Climate scientist Michael Mann wins bid to join emails lawsuit; BP and other Gulf oil spill CEOs won't testify before House committee; Republican House freshmen disappointed by Supercommittee's secrecy; Obama admin to issue disclosure rules for fracking on federal lands; WRI/Transparency Int'l panel on climate policy corruption, Nov. 3, 2011, in DC; proposed FOIA rule would let gov't deny existence of records; and bill to improve pipeline safety and increase access to info passes Senate.
In June 2012, the nations of the world will convene in Rio de Janiero for the 20th anniversary of the landmark 1992 Rio Conference on Environment and Development that set the stage for a number of important treaties, including the Montreal Protocol to protect the ozone layer and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.Region:
In formal comments on EPA's August 5, 2011, draft Scientific Integrity Policy, submitted September 2, SEJ recommended that EPA adopt portions of a model policy drafted by the Union of Concerned Scientists in addition to affirming that "media have a right to interact with EPA staff, including scientists, without having agency staff and/or political minders listening in or otherwise taking part."
An Aug. 5, 2011, NASA memo says the agency's existing policies are so good they don't need improving — yet the policies do not offer any clear guarantee that reporters can talk to NASA scientists without permission and supervision from the public affairs office.
In formal comments, SEJ stated that the section of NOAA guidance policy requiring advance public affairs approval of media interviews — and minders sitting in on those interviews — thwarts open communication between scientists and reporters, which is "unacceptable in a free society."
The draft "Scientific Integrity Policy" marks the first time that the EPA's previously unwritten minders-and-permissions policy for press interviews has been reduced to a publicly disclosed written policy applying to the entire agency. The Society of Environmental Journalists has previously opposed these restrictions and is likely to submit formal comments on this draft policy as well.
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility petitioned NOAA to reverse its no-advocacy policy, saying it's inconsistent with the agency's official scientific integrity policy and the Obama administration's much-vaunted advocacy of more openness in federal government.