The WatchDog attended EPA's annual training conference for government workers on the Toxics Release Inventory, Nov. 1-3, 2010. See a preview of the showcased offerings, which have extra emphasis on environmental justice and EPA data tools ranging far beyond TRI.
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Photojournalists doing environmental stories have been harassed and blocked by federal police for a decade or more when they try to take pictures of federal facilities from public spaces. Now, under a court settlement, the federal government is publicly acknowledging that it is acting illegally when it does this.
The new buzzword is "dark money." Since the US Supreme Court's decision to override Congress and allow unlimited secret cash from corporations (even from foreign governments) to influence US elections, following the money has gotten hard.
It's hard to believe that some of the reports Congress demands of federal agencies are not available to the public. But it's true — not because the reports are classified but because neither the agencies nor Congress bothers to publish them.Topics on the Beat:
As soon as he arrived in office, President Obama promised to bring an unprecedented openness to the federal government. A mid-term report by a watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, concludes that Obama's promise has yet to be met.Topics on the Beat:
Is the federal government covering up mine disasters? The Mine Safety and Health Administration was certainly not going out of its way to dispel that impression when it waited seven years to produce records sought by Ellen Smith, editor of Mine Safety and Health News.
"The White House blocked efforts by federal scientists to tell the public just how bad the Gulf oil spill could have been, according to a panel appointed by President Barack Obama to investigate the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history."
The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association has filed suit against San Francisco in response to a right-to-know ordinance it passed guaranteeing consumers information about how much electromagnetic radiation their cell phones were exposing them to.
The press policy documents, obtained by Margaret Munro of Postmedia News, reveal scientists must get permission to talk to the press — and climate science and oil sands are off limits. Any statements on those topics must be approved by political appointees at the ministerial level.
The owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig that exploded, resulting in the April 2010 Gulf oil spill disaster, is refusing to provide safety documents or a spokesperson to testify to a federal investigative panel.Topics on the Beat: