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

January 12, 2012

  • Somewhere near you there is probably an activist who has been doggedly seeking documents from a local, state, or federal agency which has been reluctant to provide them. Their story might well be worth telling. Sunshine Week, March 11-17, 2012, will celebrate "Local Heroes" with a roundup of such stories.

  • According to the Los Angeles Times, recent directives from the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force suggest that merely filming commercial acts of cruelty to animals could be a terrorist offense — something that now can lead to indefinite military detention without trial.

  • Mainstream Canada, the nation's second-largest farmed-salmon producer — and a subsidiary of an even more gargantuan Danish transnational holding company — will try to crush and silence environmental activist Don Staniford, who has had the temerity to criticize their operations publicly.

  • Environmental journalists are still waiting to see whether EPA revises the draft Scientific Integrity Policy in which it claims the right to keep scientists from talking to reporters without press office permission — and have Saddam-style "minders" sit in on interviews.

  • It remains to be seen how successful the House will be in timely posting of electronic versions of bills — especially when they are thousand-page appropriations bills being rammed through at the last minute. The WatchDog will be watching to see if bills are published electronically well before subcommittee markups begin.

December 14, 2011

  • One example is Walt Tamosaitis, who works for an Energy Department subcontractor. He told a Senate panel on December 6, 2011, that when he raised technical issues about whether nuclear waste cleanup was being done right at the Hanford Site in Washington, he was taken off the project and exiled to the basement.

  • The Portland judge ruled that blogger Crystal Cox, who published allegations against businessman Kevin Padrick and was subsequently sued by Padrick for defamation, was not a journalist as she lacked any conventional journalistic credentials or affiliations, and therefore was not entitled to the protections of the state's shield law.

  • Jack Abramoff, a former lobbyist convicted of mail fraud, is now on a book tour. At least one member of Congress visited him in prison. The federal Bureau of Prisons so far has not released any other names in response to Sunlight's FOIA request.

  • Colorado, which adopted its disclosure rules December 13, 2011, joins Texas, Pennsylvania, and several other states in requiring some disclosure by drillers of the chemicals they pump into shale formations under high pressures to release natural gas. Scores of chemicals, some very toxic, may be involved.

November 30, 2011

  • If you are worried that ingredients in cleaning products may aggravate your allergies, mess up your sex hormones, or cause cancer, you may not find out what they are. The International Fragrance Association North America and the American Cleaning Institute are opposing a bill introduced in the House that would require cleaning products to carry ingredients lists on the package label.

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