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

September 21, 2011

  • Details and documents on the 2006 US-Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement will be released after a federal appeals court ruled Sept. 16, 2011, against claims by the Office of the US Trade Representative that the documents, sought by the Center for Biological Diversity and Conservation Northwest, were exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.

September 8, 2011

  • In formal comments on EPA's August 5, 2011, draft Scientific Integrity Policy, submitted September 2, SEJ recommended that EPA adopt portions of a model policy drafted by the Union of Concerned Scientists in addition to affirming that "media have a right to interact with EPA staff, including scientists, without having agency staff and/or political minders listening in or otherwise taking part."

  • Top officials at the Bureau of Ocean Energy, Management, Regulation and Enforcement have been charged with scientific misconduct regarding a possible cover-up over the suspension and sudden reinstatement of Dr. Charles Monnett, who authored a paper suggesting climate change was harming polar bears.

August 24, 2011

August 10, 2011

  • Five years after writing about polar bears drowning, apparently from lack of sea ice, a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement was suspended without a reason. Later he was told it was due to charges of "scientific misconduct" from a party or parties not identified.

  • While EPA oversees the Safe Drinking Water Act programs, much of the daily responsibility is delegated to state agencies. The non-partisan Government Accountability Office says the states are under-reporting violations and contamination to EPA. Moreover, EPA has fallen behind in setting standards for known contaminants that may cause health problems.

  • The draft "Scientific Integrity Policy" marks the first time that the EPA's previously unwritten minders-and-permissions policy for press interviews has been reduced to a publicly disclosed written policy applying to the entire agency. The Society of Environmental Journalists has previously opposed these restrictions and is likely to submit formal comments on this draft policy as well.

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