February 27, 2013–As new heads for environmental and energy agencies come before the Senate for confirmation, they will likely feel heat over the gulf between the Obama administration's rhetoric on transparency and its iron discipline on message control. Case in point: Gina McCarthy, widely expected to be Obama's nominee for EPA's top administrator slot.
February 27, 2013–A small chink appeared this month in the armor of nondisclosure that protects the oil and gas industry's relationship with federal leasing agencies. BLM had refused to disclose the nominating entities. Federal District Judge Matsch ruled that the Freedom of Information Act requires the disclosure.
February 27, 2013–Interested in water quality at the local and watershed level? Not only does the multi-agency "Water Quality Portal" offer large amounts of measurements of water quality in specific lakes and streams — but EPA is offering free training on how to use it via a Webinar.
February 27, 2013–Such a move had been resisted for years by the few large companies that dominate the scientific publishing industry. Some open-access groups hailed the memo as a breakthrough that would really allow taxpayers to read the research they pay for. Still, the proof will be in the implementation.
February 13, 2013–A leaked draft of the replacement rule suggested Interior would leave handling of fracking data to the industry-run "FracFocus" project, which has come under criticism by environmental and watchdog groups for being hard to use and incomplete.
February 13, 2013–The United States, whose Minerals Management Service simply neglected to collect in-kind offshore oil royalties under President Bush, has yet to prove itself a paragon. Yet now a new Interior Department committee is poised to lecture other countries on how to do it right.
February 13, 2013–Among those that haven't updated FOIA regs since before Congress enacted FOIA amendments in 2007 are USDA, National Transportation Safety Board, DoE, National Indian Gaming Commission, DoJ, Chemical Safety and Hazards Investigation Board, OMB (which claims responsibility for FOIA discipline), Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, Consumer Product Safety Commission, and DHHS.
February 13, 2013–According to the Washington Post, the National Weather Service is firing William Proenza, who once headed the National Hurricane Center, for revealing to the Post that looming budget cuts would harm forecasting effectiveness (something that can affect public safety and the profits of business).
January 30, 2013–Sunlight cures many ills. A month after watchdog Sheila Kaplan exposed a White House blackout of an EPA report on children's environmental health, the Obama administration uncorked it. Of course, the timing may have had something to do with the election as well; EPA announced its publication January 25, just a few days after the inauguration.
January 30, 2013–The release this month of the draft National Climate Assessment garnered many headlines. But little notice went to the fact that it was released at all. Earlier versions of this assessment of climate change's impacts on the U.S. were suppressed — and even "unpublished". But a few voices did take note of the Assessment's release.