September 21, 2011–Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) has reintroduced a bill that would establish a limited federal protection for journalists when prosecutor and courts seek to compel them to disclose their confidential sources. A similar measure died on the Senate floor at the end of the last Congress.
September 21, 2011–Dam inspections began before the Dec. 2008 spill incident of 5.4 million cubic yards of coal-ash slurry in Tennessee. Afterward, the initial draft engineer's report of the pre-spill inspection noted several eroded areas needed to be fixed "immediately;" the word was subsequently struck from the report.
August 31, 2011–Organizations in IL, NY, and TX received substantial funding from the US Forest Service so they can work on projects related to urban forests. The products and efforts are available for use by others around the country, making them of interest to any journalist covering urban environmental or health issues.
August 17, 2011–USDA continues to expand its Biomass Crop Assistance Program that provides financial incentives for producers of various biomass products with the latest selected project areas for growing camelina in CA, OR, WA, and MT, poplar trees in OR, and switchgrass in KS and OK.
August 17, 2011–Greater sage-grouse are at just 3% of their historical numbers, and warrant protection, according to the Bureau of Land Management. But since other species are in even more dire straits, the birds haven't been declared a threatened or endangered species. The US Dept. of Agriculture money is a work-around aimed at saving the birds and their habitat.
August 3, 2011–Hunting, under certain conditions, is already allowed at more than 300 of the 553 sites in the National Wildlife Refuge System. Contact local environmental, animal rights, and hunting groups for opinions for or against these proposals that would allow additional species to be killed at 10 refuges in 8 states.
July 15, 2011–In the Summer issue of SEJournal, Bill Dawson gets the inside story from the Monterey County Weekly's assistant editor Kera Abraham (pictured at left) and her award-winning stories involving clashing shades of green.
July 6, 2011–The US Dept. of Agriculture is providing financial support for farmers to grow the grass in four project areas in four states. The goal is to substantially increase production of the crop, and USDA estimates about 4,000 jobs will be created.