October 31, 2012–Watchdog group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility's new guide to state whistleblower laws starts with a map — click on any state to link to its whistleblower law and other related info. Federally, there is currently a bill in play in Congress which would strengthen the notoriously weak federal whistleblower protections.
October 17, 2012–Danielle Ivory reports for Bloomberg: "At least 25 federal agencies are outsourcing parts of the FOIA process. The contractors, sometimes using workers with security clearances, are building FOIA software, corresponding with requesters, redacting documents and recommending what information should be withheld."
October 17, 2012–The two New York Times journalists were working on private land with the permission of the landowner, near Winnsboro in northeast Texas, when they were detained, according to the online energy publication FuelFix. The 78-year-old owner of the land, who objects to the routing of the pipeline across it, was also arrested for trespassing on her own land.
October 17, 2012–NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service is considering a rule which could restrict public access to important data on commercial fishing — and overfishing. This data includes federally required public records paid for by taxpayers. The watchdog group OMB Watch criticized the proposed rule's handling of confidential information
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.