May 30, 2012–The federal Data.gov, while not perfect, has grown over three years especially strong in datasets from federal agencies that deal with the environment, energy, natural resources, health, and science. Many of them are downloadable, so that you can crunch them on your own computer. Several are map layers or geo-tagged in some way. See a few randomly chosen examples here.
May 30, 2012–The JD said that individuals have a First Amendment right to record police officers in the public performance of their duties. It also said police can not seize or destroy such recordings without a warrant and due process.
May 30, 2012–The Ohio legislature cleared a fracking bill May 24, 2012 that increases inspections of wells and requires drillers to hold liability insurance. But Reuters reports: "Many Democrats said the bill paves the way for the industry to hide information about toxic chemicals that could contaminate groundwater."
May 16, 2012–After backroom lobbying by gas and oil industry groups, the Obama White House watered down the promised fracking-fluid disclosure requirement promised earlier this year — imposing it only after completion of the fracking operation, when the information may have little effect (such as public pressure on BLM to deny a drilling permit).
May 16, 2012–A Chicago Tribune investigative series on flame retardant chemicals helps illustrate how federal agency control of what scientists say to reporters can help the chemical and tobacco industries. By reporter Michael Hawthorne.
May 16, 2012–Environmental reporters with ambitions to do investigative projects using databases will find an enormously rich collection of ideas, tips, examples, and tools in the new book released by the Open Knowledge Foundation and the European Journalism Centre.
May 16, 2012–Various citizen groups have protested the lack of transparency as negotiators meet for the 12th time in Dallas May 15-18. The 26-chapter draft treaty includes provisions on the environment. But nobody on the outside knows what they are.
May 2, 2012–For reporters wanting to pry open the worm-cans of local environmental stories, EPA's new GIS tool lets you map Environmental Impact Statements project information against a rich backdrop: layer after layer of geographic, demographic, environmental, and economic context. And, it can be used in conjunction with EJView, EPA's environmental justice online mapping tool.
May 2, 2012–Here are some recent reports by the Congressional Research Service related to the environment/energy beat. Congress does not release them to the public. We again thank the Federation of American Scientists' Government Secrecy Project for doing so.
May 2, 2012–OMB sat on the Office of Government Information Services recommendations for over a year, until a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in March 2012 demanded OMB release the recommendations, which finally happened April 24th. However, no recommendations for legislative change were included. Nobody knows what, if any, legislative recommendations OGIS may have originally proposed.