August 14, 2013–Journalists of all stripes heard a panel debate: "Government Public Affairs Offices: More Hindrance Than Help?" August 12, 2013, at the National Press Club, with unsurprising results. The real news may have been presentation of results of a survey conducted by an assistant professor at Kennesaw State University. To risk summarizing in a headline: things are as bad as SEJ members have complained they are.
August 14, 2013–The system for informing Americans about the threats to their health and safety posed by chemical plants is seriously broken, a Reuters investigation revealed August 10, 2013. Facilities often misidentify chemicals or their location, or fail to report the existence of the substances. But there are tools to help reporters.
August 14, 2013–One reason proof of harm is hard to find is that drillers pay people to keep quiet. Now the unsealing of a once-confidential settlement in Pennsylvania gives a clear view of how the silencing works. The 17-page, two-year-old settlement agreement includes a $750,000 payment to a family critical of fracking, saying they became sick, as well as a gag order that applies to their 7- and 10-year-old children for the rest of their lives.
August 14, 2013–SEJ formally objected to the CHP's July 23, 2013, arrest of Willits News' Steve Eberhard for covering an environmental protest of highway bypass construction, saying the arrest is "unacceptable" and "directly contravenes the right to gather news that derives from the First Amendment."
July 31, 2013–Here's more evidence of why documents should be leaked to reporters: a Powerpoint obtained by LA Times' Neela Banerjee shows EPA's Region 3 staff argued a year ago for continuing its investigation of fracking pollution around Dimock, PA — as EPA HQ announced it was ending its study of Dimock wells. Now there's an echo in Pavillion, WY.
July 31, 2013–Journalists who worried about a cover-up during the April 2010 blowout of BP's Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico got some vindication this month when Halliburton admitted to destroying evidence. The company agreed to pay $200,000 in fines and donate $55 million to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
July 31, 2013–If the public can't see it, it didn't happen, right? That seems to be the logic of California officials who arrested a newspaper photographer for covering an environmental protest at the site where a highway overpass was being constructed and protesters had chained themselves to construction equipment.
July 31, 2013–House and Senate Republicans made a big deal over EPA "transparency" while McCarthy's nomination was being held up in the Senate, for 130 days. Then on July 9, 2013, the Senate Environment Committee's ranking minority member said he would drop his filibuster threat because EPA had agreed to some of his demands on transparency.
July 17, 2013–A doughty, Pulitzer-winning publication is insisting the public has a right to know when pipeline companies are profiting by endangering people's lives, health, and property. InsideClimate News is pushing back against oil companies and federal regulators who say reports on pipeline flaws and hazards are trade secrets.