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.
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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.
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.Region:
If you are hunting stories — or useful background for a story under way — you may find a useful tool in EPA's online, searchable Environmental Impact Statement database.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals had planned to display a video showing animals being slaughtered and instances of abuse. The fair board said that PETA could only show the video within its booth and out of public view, so that people would have to make a deliberate decision to see it.Region:
A retired University of Alaska professor, represented by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, went to court for the testing data on which Interior's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement approval was based, after the agency violated the FOIA by not responding within the required 20-day period.Region:
Documents obtained by the Bay Citizen, an award-winning nonprofit news organization, showed Navy officials responsible for ensuring the site was properly cleaned up trying to convince California state health officials not to put their radiation concerns in writing.Topics on the Beat:
The existing climate research budget crunch may be made worse by across-the-board cuts mandated if Congress and the White House fail to reach a budget agreement by January 2013.
A new report by Sabrina Tavernise in the New York Times points out that basic data about the routine use of antibiotics in farm animals (which consume some 80 percent of the nation's antibiotics) is largely missing and that a ferocious germ resistant to many types of antibiotics had increased tenfold on chicken breasts.
More than 70 scientists from research and health groups wrote House and Senate Appropriations Committee leaders September 4, 2012, urging them not to cut funds for the biennial Report on Carcinogens, which showed that formaldehyde and styrene can cause cancer.