Other Information Access News in Brief

November 2, 2011
  • "Score Another Victory for Scientists, Michael Mann, and the Freedom of Inquiry," DeSmogBlog, Nov. 2, 2011, by Chris Mooney. Climate scientist Michael Mann wins his bid to join the lawsuit between University of Virginia and climate-denial group American Tradition Institute over access to his university emails.
  • "CEOs of Gulf Oil Spill Companies Decline To Testify Before House Committee," E2 Wire/The Hill, Nov. 1, 2011, by Andrew Restuccia. Top execs of BP and several of its contractors on the blown-out Deepwater Horizon well declined to testify before the House Natural Resources Committee Wednesday about the events leading to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico during the summer of 2010.
  • "Supercommittee’s Secrecy Disappoints Republican House Freshmen," Washington Post, Nov. 1, 2011, by Rosalind S. Helderman. "A number of Republican House freshmen who came to Washington promising to slash government spending are increasingly worried that the congressional supercommittee, to which that task has now fallen, is operating too much in secret and that the lack of transparency could doom the enterprise." Many environment and energy programs are on the supercommittee's chopping block as lobbyists circle like sharks and members reap industry campaign donations.
  • "U.S. To Require Details of Fracking on Federal Land," Reuters, Nov. 1, 2011, by Ayesha Rascoe. "The Interior Department plans to issue a proposal soon forcing companies to reveal the chemicals they use in the so-called fracking drilling process on federal lands, as the Obama administration responds to public safety concerns over the shale exploration boom. David Hayes, deputy secretary at the Interior Department, told a federal shale gas advisory panel on Monday that the department hopes to issue disclosure rules for hydraulic fracturing on federal lands in 'a couple of months.' It plans to finalize the guidelines about 12 months after that."
  • "World Resources Institute, Transparency International To Focus on Climate Policy Corruption in U.S.," Yale Forum on Climate Change & the Media, Oct. 21, 2011. Is secret money from Big Coal and Big Oil driving PR and lobbying that dominates the media narrative in the U.S. on climate change? Is undisclosed campaign money buying members of Congress? You might find out at a panel discussion hosted by World Resources Institute and Transparency International Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011, 4-5:30 pm in Washington, DC. You can view the booked-up event remotely as it will be livestreamed here from Ustream.
  • "Government Could Hide Existence of Records under FOIA Rule Proposal," ProPublica, October 24, 2011, by Jennifer LaFleur. "A proposed rule to the Freedom of Information Act would allow federal agencies to tell people requesting certain law-enforcement or national security documents that records don’t exist — even when they do. Under current FOIA practice, the government may withhold information and issue what’s known as a Glomar denial that says it can neither confirm nor deny the existence of records. The new proposal — part of a lengthy rule revision by the Department of Justice — would direct government agencies to 'respond to the request as if the excluded records did not exist.'"

    See also: "Open-Government Groups Protest Rule Allowing Federal Officials To Lie," Gannett Washington Bureau, Oct. 29, 2011, by Erin Kelly.

  • "Senate Passes Bill to Improve Pipeline Safety and Increase Public Access to Information," OMB Watcher (OMB Watch), October 26, 2011. "On Oct. 17, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bill to strengthen safety standards and increase public availability of inspection results and enforcement actions related to the nation's 2.3 million miles of pipelines."