The SEJ WatchDog


The WatchDog TipSheet is a monthly source of story ideas, articles, updates, events and other information with a focus on freedom-of-information issues of concern to environmental journalists in both the United States and Canada.

Journalists can receive WatchDog TipSheet free by subscribing to the SEJournal Online, the digital news magazine of the Society of Environmental Journalists. Subscribe to the e-newsletter here

WatchDog TipSheet is also available through the searchable archive below and via RSS feed.

Latest WatchDog TipSheet Items

October 17, 2007

  • Paul Wotzka, a hydrologist with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, who was fired shortly after he asked permission to testify before the Minnesota legislature on Atrazine pollution of water finally had his say.

  • Cancer registries, which are part of the public health system help physicians collect statistics on cancer incidence and help pinpoint "cancer clusters" that may be caused by environmental factors. the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) runs a surveillance system, which has a registry of cancer cases in almost every state. But the hospitals in the federal Veterans Affairs (VA) system are now saying they will not share cancer data with state registries unless the states sign restrictive agreements.

  • A federal jury in Toledo may soon be deciding whether some company officials engaged in a cover-up of safety problems at the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant. Although the story has gotten little national attention, the Toledo Blade's Tom Henry has covered the trial in detail.

  • The Interior Department has proposed codifying its rules on photography, filming, and sound-recording on public lands it administers. Some newsgatherers are worried that the rules would hurt their ability to do their jobs.

  • Federal district judge Dee Benson ruled Oct. 9, 2007, that a group of news media companies could not have access to an investigation by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) into the Crandall Canyon mine collapse in Utah Aug. 6, which killed six miners and three workers trying to rescue them.

  • The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Oct. 16, 2007, to create a federal shield law which would offer limited protection for reporters from being compelled to disclose confidential sources.

  • The public is still in the dark about the environmental impacts of the open-pit Rosemont copper mine proposed near Tucson. The documents are sought by Arizona Daily Star reporter and SEJ member Tony Davis, who has doggedly reported on the impacts, largely utilizing FOIA request results. Image: ©

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • The Army Corps of Engineers has stopped giving the public access to a database that shows how well federal agencies are doing at dam safety.