One starting point to covering agriculture — and the health implications of land and water use — is to follow the money using Environmental Working Group's major database tool. Any reporter covering the ag-environment link should know about it.
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That left journalists and the taxpayers — for now — at least partly in the dark about where tax dollars subsidizing agriculture are really going. But disclosure advocates think they may get another opportunity when the House takes up its own version of the Farm Bill.
The system was developed by the Sunlight Foundation, the National Institute on Money in State Politics, and the Center for Responsive Politics. Just paste in some text or the Web address of an online article, and within seconds Poligraft supplies much of the missing context.
The rebellion against commercial and subscription-only publishers over public access to articles based on taxpayer-funded research is gaining ground. The Directory — free, searchable and online — already includes some 819742, full-text, scientific or scholarly articles in 7885 journals.
A federal judge has denied BP's bid to see 21 e-mails and other documents sent between the White House and other federal agencies. More chilling, perhaps, was BP's effort to get e-mails sent by two private-sector scientists in an apparent effort to discredit their work.
A new report from the IEA includes guidelines emphasizing transparency and the monitoring of environmental and social impacts. That includes full disclosure of fracking fluid ingredients and testing of baseline water and air conditions before drilling begins.
A company wants to mine Virginia's major uranium deposit so the state formed a multi-agency panel to study ending the three-decade ban on uranium mining. That panel hired a consulting firm that critics say was stacked with experts affiliated with the nuclear industry.Topics on the Beat:Region:
The JD said that individuals have a First Amendment right to record police officers in the public performance of their duties. It also said police can not seize or destroy such recordings without a warrant and due process.
Claims of trade secrecy — often unsubstantiated — are a huge barrier to environmental reporters and others trying to find the truth about chemicals that may harm human health and the environment. But the FBI's billboards urge Americans to be vigilant against corporate insiders who may appear suspicious, and presumably to turn them in.
The federal Data.gov, while not perfect, has grown over three years especially strong in datasets from federal agencies that deal with the environment, energy, natural resources, health, and science. Many of them are downloadable, so that you can crunch them on your own computer. Several are map layers or geo-tagged in some way. See a few randomly chosen examples here.Topics on the Beat: