Despite promises of transparency, the US Environmental Protection Agency has denied a Freedom-of-Information request by Charleston Gazette reporter Ken Ward Jr. for the contractor study, which apparently outlines less harmful options for this West Virginia mountaintop-removal project.
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The open-government agenda made only a little progress in the session of Congress now waddling to a lame-duck close. Hope still remains for a few measures that would increase public access to government information — but it dwindles with every day that passes.Topics on the Beat:
The Senate's Nov. 30 vote not to impose a moratorium on "earmarks" practically ensures that pork-barrel spending will live on as a subject for journalists — at least in fiscal 2011.
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and 22 other news media groups intervened in a case where AT&T had challenged the Federal Communications Commission's ruling that exemption 7c of the Freedom of Information Act did not apply to AT&T.Topics on the Beat:
TRI-CHIP assembles a great deal of toxicity and hazard information from many sources and makes it easy to search. TRI.NET allows you to construct complex queries into the Toxics Release Inventory database, and to map the results in ways that can be used for publishable graphics or layered on maps with other environmental and demographic information.
The website offers access to several kinds of data sometimes sought by reporters doing environmental stories. Searches can be narrowed down by state and by industry.
The order gives agencies 120 days to review their existing secrecy designations and to come up with standardized ones "in a timely manner." When there is doubt, Obama's order states, agencies are to err on the side of disclosure.
The Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility is suing the administration under the Freedom of Information Act for documents that would explain the delay in issuing a long overdue, government-wide integrity policy.
EPA in-house tool may be released to public within months. It will give reporters themselves the ability to estimate the cumulative impacts of pollution on water bodies.
myRTK lets you thumb in an address or ZIP code and get back a map or list of Toxics Release Inventory facilities on your feature phone or smart phone.