The U.S. Department of the Interior is not winning many awards for openness. A House subcommittee recently took up the complaint that Interior's Office of the Solicitor would not even honor the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) ombudsman's office with a response to repeated letters.
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Open government groups have started a 50-day countdown to the law's 50th anniversary. It remains to be seen whether Congress can send President Obama a fix-FOIA bill by that date. Image: © Clipart.com.Topics on the Beat:
The Senate-passed bill contains an explicit exemption from permits and fees for newsgathering. A House energy bill, now going to conference to be reconciled with the Senate bill, contains no newsgathering exemption. But that's not the end of the story. Image courtesy of NPS.
Here are the latest leaked explainers, written by the Congressional Research Service, that may be of use to environmental journalists.Topics on the Beat:
U.S. EPA on April 29, 2016, posted on its website the 2015 "final" report by its Cancer Assessment Review Committee on the widely used herbicide glyphosate, sold commercially by Monsanto as Roundup. But on May 2, the report vanished from the EPA site.
The Iowa-based publication Farm News has fired an editorial cartoonist who had contributed to the publication for 21 years. His crime: pointing out that the CEOs of Monsanto, Dupont Pioneer and John Deere made far more than average farmers.Region:
The language, in the report accompanying the bill, declares that employees of the marketing boards are "not government employees," and "urges the USDA to recognize" that such boards are exempt from FOIA. Image: © Clipart.com.
Many local and state agencies, set up under a 1986 federal law to inform the public, are a great resource for stories at the local, state, and even national level. Some don't — often based on a fear that terrorists could use the information to harm people. Here's how to find yours.
Black Belt Citizens Fighting for Health and Justice says the landfill, which has accepted millions of pounds of coal ash from the 2008 Tennessee spill, violates their civil rights. The community surrounding the landfill is predominantly poor and African-American.
The Congressional Research Service has compiled a side-by-side analysis comparing the two bills. With only a few months of real work remaining in this volatile election year, it is not a sure thing that Congress will clear the legislation. Open-government groups on March 16, 2016, urged Obama to declare support for the legislation.