PROTECTING ACCESS TO ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION

RTKnet: Government Performance

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)

Energy Department Pressed to Release Records (Friends of the Earth)

FOE filed a FOIA request to require the Department of Energy to release the details of its bailout agreement with Southern Company. According to FOE, the bailout, a loan guarantee for the construction of nuclear reactors, could cost taxpayers billions. "Taxpayers have been kept in the dark about the details of this deal entered into on their behalf. The public has a right to know the terms of this agreement."

(21 Jun 2010)

BP Chief Offers Answers, But Not to Liking of House Committee (New York Times)

BP CEO Tony Hayward refused to directly answer questions or take responsibility for the spill when testifying to the oversight and investigations panel of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Chairman Waxman (D-CA) accused Hayward of "stonewalling" and criticized his responses by asserting, "Your evasion will make our job more difficult and impede our understanding of what went wrong."

(18 Jun 2010)

New Online Mapping Tool for Oil Spill Data (Unified Command for the BP Oil Spill)

Described as a "one-stop shop for detailed near-real-time information about the response to the Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill," NOAA has launched a new website: www.geoplatform.gov/gulfresponse/, that provides an interactive map incorporating data from the various agencies responding to the spill.

(16 Jun 2010)

Admiral Orders 'Uninhibited Access' to Oil Spill Operations (ABC)

The National Incident Commander for the oil spill efforts recently announced that "[T]he media will have uninhibited access anywhere we're doing operations, except for two things, if it's a security or safety problem.  That is my policy.  I'm the national incident commander.” However, the media is still combatting silence from government workers and private contractors.

(07 Jun 2010)

Indian Court Convicts 7 in Bhopal Gas Tragedy (New York Times)

Seven Union Carbide India Ltd. officials were convicted today for failing to follow proper safety procedures prior to the 1984 methyl isocyanate gas leak. Local activists contend that the government has failed to properly clean up the toxic chemicals left at the Union Carbide-owned pesticide plant after its closing. This disaster drove the U.S. Congress to pass legislation to prevent similar occurrences in the United States and create the Toxic Release Inventory.

(07 Jun 2010)

New Estimates of Oil Spill Much Greater Than Original (USGS)

According to an expert panel, "the independent analysis of the Flow Rate Technical Group has determined that the overall best initial estimate for the lower and upper boundaries of flow rates of oil is in the range of 12,000 and 19,000 barrels per day." Accurate information on the BP spill has been hard to come by, as shown by the initial estimates that 5,000 barrels per day were spewing into the Gulf.

(27 May 2010)

CNN Investigates Toxic Town (Center for Health, Environment & Justice)

"On June 2nd, CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta will be airing an hour-long investigative story into the environmental health and justice problems plaguing the community of Mossville, Louisiana. Nestled amidst an alarming cluster of chemical plants, Mossville is home to more PVC chemical plants than anywhere else in the entire country, and has been dubbed the Vinyl Manufacturing Capital of America."

(27 May 2010)

More Attention for USDA’s Lack of Transparency (Environmental Working Group)

"There is increasing attention on the restriction of access to government records on taxpayer funded farm subsidies reported by the Environmental Working Group...It’s crucial for government to truly be accountable by identifying the farm subsidy recipients who use a maze of co-ops, paper farms and corporate entity shell games to maximize their haul of taxpayer dollars."

(26 May 2010)

BP Withholds Oil Spill Facts — And Government Lets It (McClatchy Newspapers)

BP has not publicly divulged the results of tests on the extent of workers' exposure to evaporating oil or from the burning of crude over the gulf, even though researchers say those data are crucial to determining whether the conditions are safe; plus the company is not monitoring the extent of the spill.

(19 May 2010)