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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.Topics on the Beat:
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: