October 17, 2012–RCFP's new online guide to appealing federal FOIA decisions, written by smart, experienced media lawyers, "will be particularly useful to independent journalists and those at news organizations who don’t have ready access to legal counsel to help file appeals."
October 3, 2012–Some utilities want to get rid of the requirement — substituting online notification, even for water customers who lack Internet connections. A legislative effort to ease the notification requirement failed in the Senate in summer 2012. Now EPA is starting procedures which might lead to doing the same thing by rulemaking. Deadline for comments is October 11, 2012.
October 3, 2012–While it still has a long way to go to reach its potential, the new "FOIAonline" web portal benefits environmental reporters now. Submit and track FOIA requests online to the US Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and more.
October 3, 2012–Five years after wildlife biologist Charles Monnett's 2006 observations of dead polar bears, believed to have drowned because of disappearing Arctic ice, Interior started an investigation of Monnett's science. The findings — partially published September 28, 2012 — were confused and contained no findings of scientific misconduct.
October 3, 2012–The list, recently published by the Society of Professional Journalists, includes items ranging from the FOIA letter generator from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press to Charles Davis' "The Art of Access" blog.
September 19, 2012–Beef Products Inc. filed suit for defamation over stories about its 'finely textured beef' product, known to headline writers as 'pink slime.' Legal experts say the company will have a hard time winning the case, which harkens back to the famous hamburger libel case of the late 1990s, in which Oprah Winfrey won the right to dislike beef in public.
September 19, 2012–Should passengers taking off from — or landing at — your local airport worry about bird strikes? You can find information leading to a few answers in the Federal Aviation Administration's online, searchable FAA Wildlife Strike Database.
September 19, 2012–A Va. court ruled Sept. 17, 2012 that e-mails generated by climate scientist Michael Mann when he worked at the Univ. of Virginia were exempt from the state's FOIA. Mann has been the target of repeated attacks by climate change deniers due to his famous "hockey stick" graph of global temperature records and indicators.
September 19, 2012–The Congressional Research Service regularly produces objective and informative background material on matters of interest to environmental journalists. Because Congress refuses to release these reports to the public, the WatchDog links to leaked versions published by the Project on Government Secrecy of the Federation of American Scientists.
September 19, 2012–For an administration that trumpeted its open-government agenda on its first day in office, the Obama administration has not lived up to all the heightened expectations. A new annual report card by OpenTheGovernment.org, a watchdog group devoted to freedom of information, spells out some of the details.