Eighteen journalism, photography, and First Amendment groups on October 1, 2014, wrote U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell opposing the proposal to finalize a directive requiring permits for "commercial filming" in Forest Service Wilderness areas. Tidwell has already said the USFS does not want to restrict journalism on wilderness lands, but the groups seek changes to regulatory language that would make this clear. SEJ is one of the groups.
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After proposing a directive that seemed to require permits and fees for journalists working in U.S. Forest Service wilderness lands, the USFS announced that it had never intended the restrictions to apply to journalists. Tim Wheeler, chairman of the Society of Environmental Journalists' Freedom of Information Task Force, talked with USFS Chief TomTidwell to clarify the USFS position. Here's his report.Region:
The U.S. Forest Service is seeking to harden rules that would require a journalist to get a permit and pay a fee of up to $1,500 in order to report inside a federal wilderness. [Update -- 9/25/14: Forest Service Chief Tidwell says media don't need permit]Region:
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A large and diverse array of businesses have an interest in the environmental and energy laws that state legislatures consider: including coal, oil, plastics, chemicals, mining, forest products, and others. The possible financial stake lawmakers may have in the bills before them is fertile ground for investigation. Here's help in finding story ideas.
An initiative involving some 35 nations aims to solve many complex revenue-reporting problems, including improving the flow of information across national borders. But solutions can't even begin until individual nations get a grip on accurate data about extractive industries within their own borders. The results could illuminate key environmental policy issues.
The atlas — a database actually — is based partly on climate-related changes in tree cover. It maps out current distribution of 147 species and modeled distribution resulting from climate change.
A federal judge ruled that once the documents — depositions of US Forest Service employees about a 2007 forest fire in California that burned tens of thousands of acres — had been entered into court records as part of the evidence discovery process, they were presumptively public records and had to remain that way.Region:
The agency would add slightly more acreage to the lists of sensitive land and water areas where fire retardant could be dropped only in cases where human life or public safety is threatened. There would be no significant changes in the formula of the retardant, or the general strategy used to determine when and where it's appropriate to drop retardant.Topics on the Beat:
Wetland acreage in the US declined during 2004-2009, reversing a slightly positive trend of net wetland gains during 1998-2004, according to the latest assessment from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, released Oct. 6, 2011.