USFWS officers and DHS agents are not allowing independent academic researchers to study damage from the BP oil spill to natural resources from public lands and waters, saying they are justified by the "Natural Resource Damage Assessment" process under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 and "national security," respectively.
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Obama administration officials are publicly refusing to disclose data backing up an August 4 report announcing that some three-fourths of the BP oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico was "gone.".
The early release includes only about 80% of the total expected submissions. Updates should be available in August and September, and the agency will release its analysis later in 2010.
Reporters can find most of the environmental monitoring data EPA has collected on one webpage in a form that can be queried or downloaded.
The new bill protects U.S. journalists and citizens against harsh overseas libel judgments.
A federal appeals court has ruled that the National Park Service is violating the First Amendment with its current rules requiring permits for demonstrations, gatherings, and public "expressions of views" on National Park System lands.
Before leaving town for its August vacation, Congress stripped $12 million for the commission from an appropriations bill and denied that panel the subpoena power it needs to find out what happened or what should be done to prevent another spill.
St. Petersburg Times' Craig Pittman reports the scientists' announcement in May that research boats had discovered a 6-mile long underwater oil plume was greeted with shushing from the Coast Guard and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The Center for Biological Diversity requested documents from the Department of the Interior on May 18, 2010, but received no response.Topics on the Beat:
An ex-BP security contractor hired to shoo reporters off of public beaches claims he was fired by BP after he took pictures of equations showing how dispersants were being used in the Gulf.