More access was urged for records on oil and gas leasing, government-issued permits and leases related to metal mining, grazing livestock on public lands, harvesting ocean fish, operating chemical plants, drilling for oil, logging, building roads or strip malls, coal mining, filling wetlands, and more.
- SEJ Publication Types:Visibility:
ProPublica reporter Abrahm Lustgarten (left) revealed that some of the biggest fracking companies have been collecting extensive baseline data since 2008, keeping it concealed from public knowledge — including denying Duke University researchers the data when asked for it. The withheld data could either exonerate the companies or prove them responsible for pollution.
Last year, legislation to put new teeth in federal whistleblower protections failed when a single senator put a secret hold on it late in the session. The good news is Sen. Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI) has introduced the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2011 to restart the legislative effort.
The "MyPropertyInfo" online tool will search multiple EPA databases for any information related to a specific street address. Or it will search for all records on a given street in a given ZIP code.
The Trade Representative had denied a Freedom of Information Act request by the Center for International Environmental Law for documents related to the Chile-US Free Trade Agreement. It claimed some documents should remain secret on the grounds of "national security."
Some of the sites used the logos of major news organizations to fool users into thinking they were reading real news reports.Topics on the Beat:
Contractors are a powerful force in many corners of the environment and energy beat, and their trade associations are often players in the regulatory and legislative dealmaking that can shape US policy.
In response to deep cuts in its budget, EIA announced that it would not be able to compile and publish products like its ongoing estimates of US oil reserves. In fact, EIA will not even be able to continue its investigation of whether speculators are driving up oil prices.
A former employee of a restaurant in Acadia National Park won a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit over records the National Park Service had refused to release, about a 2008 incident when he was among those detained by Park Service police.
If you spend a lot of time researching things on the Internet as part of your reporting, the online Data Science Toolkit, which is especially handy with geographic data, and a book by Pete Warden could make parts of your job a lot easier.