RTKnet: Access Policies & Tools

Numerous tools are available for citizens to learn about threats to public health in our communities and nationwide and how our government is responding to environmental challenges.

Administration Launches Oil Spill Response Website (

National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen announced the launch of, a website dedicated to improving public access to information about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill response and recovery.

(07 Jul 2010)

Obama Administration Holds America's Great Oudoors Listening Session (EPA)

Obama administration top officials are holding a listening session tomorrow, July 8, in accordance with the America's Great Outdoors Initiative. The goal of the session is to hear the public's  ideas for creating a conservation and recreation agenda and reconnecting Americans to the oudoors.

(07 Jul 2010)

While the Media Is Sandbagged, Is Sand Dumped Over Oil? (Huffington Post)

The Coast Guard recently instated a 65-foot rule between observers and the clean up site in the Gulf of Mexico that is punishable by a $40,000 fine, blocking media access to he site. Without direct access to the site, reporters are beginning to speculate if workers are dumping sand on the shores of Grand Isle, Louisiana to simply cover the oil rather than properly clean it up.

(02 Jul 2010)

Minnesota Department of Health Lists Chemicals of High Concern (Minnesota Public Radio)

The Minnesota Department of Health released a list of 1755 hazardous substances used in consumer products and industrial processes. "The list doesn't consider how often people are exposed to the chemical or the risk of exposure" because there is limited access to toxicity information.

(02 Jul 2010)

Louisiana Governor Won't Disclose Oil Spill Records (New York Times)

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal vetoed an amendment to a state bill that would have given the public access to all records from his office regarding the Deepwater Horizon spill. Gov. Jindal alleged that “Such access could impair the state’s legal position both in responding to the disaster that is unfolding and in seeking remedies for economic injury and natural resource damage.”

(01 Jul 2010)

Health of Exxon Valdez Clean-Up Workers Never Studied (McClatchy)

More than 20 years after the Exxon Valdez spill, scientistists are unaware of the long-term health effects that the thousands of workers in the Gulf may face. Also startling, BP is not taking note of the majority of workers' complaints of illness. An Anchorage lawyer asserted the need for a study of workers' health with recorded links between illness and oil exposure. "If you're the oil industry, you may or may not have this data. Lord knows, you're not going to want to publish it."

(30 Jun 2010)

Potentially Harmful Chemicals Used in Pennsylvania Drilling (New York Times)

Chemicals being used to drill natural gas wells in Pennsylvania are linked to neurological problems, cancer, and other health problems. Using data from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the Associated Press hopes to release a full list of gas drilling chemicals used in Pennsylvania online. Environmental advocates are concerned that these chemicals are polluting their drinking water and harming their health.

(29 Jun 2010)

Data Reveal Colorado Oil Spills Exceed 5 Million Gallons (

Using a state database of industry reports of oil spills, the Denver Post reveals that there have been nearly 1,000 oil spills in the past 2 1/2 years in Colorado, totaling approximately 5.2 million gallons, or nearly half of the oil released from the Exxon Valdez spill. The National Wildlife Federation asserts, "It's about the public's right to know and what's going into the streams and aquifers around the state."

(28 Jun 2010)

BP Continues to Use Surface Dispersants Despite Directive (NY Times)

BP is still applying dispersant Corexit 9500 to the surface of the Gulf even after the EPA issued a directive ordering the company to desist. Scientists are concerned about the dispersant's impact on marine life and the health of workers who are exposed to the chemical daily. 

(25 Jun 2010)

Louisiana Police Pull Over Activist at Request of BP (Mother Jones)

Louisiana police continue to restrict media coverage of the BP spill cleanup despite government directives. Mother Jones reports that Louisiana police are collaborating with BP to prevent citizens' access to information. An environmental activist was filming near the Deepwater Horizon response command building when a police officer asserted that "BP doesn't want any filming" and strongly suggested he "get lost."

(22 Jun 2010)