January 30, 2013–EPA had already released preliminary TRI data for the latest available year (2011), but its National Analysis makes for easier reporting as data is collated by state. It also offers analyses by industry sector and of toxics handling by collating the parent companies of each facility nationwide.
January 16, 2013–EPA bowed to industry, ruling in a January 3, 2013 memo that local drinking water utilities no longer have to notify their customers of contamination in writing. "The memo fails to set clear standards for electronic notification and delivery and makes it likely that segments of the public will have less access to these reports," the Center for Effective Government wrote in response to the EPA memo.
January 16, 2013–Should state freedom-of-information laws disqualify people or organizations from out of state from getting government records? Led by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, some 53 news media groups have urged the US Supreme Court to say no.
January 16, 2013–The suicide earlier this month of open-access activist Aaron Swartz brings again to the fore the ongoing difficulty journalists have accessing published scientific studies that bear on key current and future policy issues. Photo of Swartz, credit Flickr/peretzp.
January 16, 2013–The Plum Book, a list of most major federal political appointments that is published every four years, has long been a starting point for juicy stories — but hard to use because it was only published in print. Now it has been digitized. That makes it grist for data journalists.
January 2, 2013–If you want to know the latest on what chemicals might give your kids learning disabilities, asthma, and other health problems, the White House Office of Management and Budget intends to keep you in the dark. It has buried since March 2011 the 3rd edition of EPA's report "America's Children and the Environment."
January 2, 2013–Too often stories fail to disclose such industry ties, which might call into question the experts' objectivity. The Checks and Balances Project, an energy watchdog group, did an analysis of coverage in 60 publications over a five-year period with very interesting results.
January 2, 2013–EPA had on December 3, 2012, published a final rule requiring reporting of unpublished cadmium-related health and safety studies by manufacturers and importers. This rule prompted industry objections, resulting in EPA's withdrawal of the rule less than 2 weeks later.
January 2, 2013–Congress' motives for the nondisclosure bear scrutiny. Is it merely to sound smart or hog the glory of releasing them? A recent report by Manuel Quinones in E&E Daily suggests another motive: fiddling with inconvenient truths (or untruths).
December 12, 2012–A fatal November 30, 2012, collapse of part of a coal-slurry impoundment in West Virginia served as a reminder of safety issues that may not be adequately regulated in some states and localities. You can locate local coal-slurry impoundments and information on their status with an online public database.