PROTECTING ACCESS TO ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION

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.

EPA's Right-to-Know Effort Discloses Chemicals in 42 Health and Safety Studies (Environmental Defense Fund)

EDF reports: "EPA has just released today the full versions — showing the identities of the chemicals in question — of 41 'substantial risk' notices of health and safety studies it had previously received from companies that had denied the public's right to know those identities by claiming them to be confidential business information (CBI)."

(25 Mar 2011)

Congress Seeks to Reveal Toxic Drilling Chemicals (OMB Watch)

Congressional Democrats have reintroduced legislation that would disclose the hazardous chemicals used in drilling for natural gas. Cases of potential water contamination have been increasing as the nation experiences a boom in gas drilling. Secrecy surrounding the identities of the chemicals, many of which are known to be hazardous, has hampered efforts to protect public and environmental health.

(25 Mar 2011)

EPA Proposes Expanding Drinking Water Monitoring (U.S. EPA)

The EPA is proposing adding 30 currently unregulated contaminants for monitoring in drinking water systems, and submitting this proposal for public comment. EPA plans to test for several hormones in drinking water supplies, along with metals, VOCs, perfluorinated compounds, and other substances. Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, EPA must keep drinking water standards up-to-date with emerging science and identify up to 30 unregulated contaminants for monitoring every five years. EPA is requesting public comment on the proposed list of 30 contaminants until May 2, 2011.

(09 Mar 2011)

Offshore Drilling Poised to Expand, but Transparency Still Lags (OMB Watch)

As the Obama administration increases approvals of deepwater oil drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico, environmental advocates have seen little meaningful increase in the transparency of the permitting process. A lack of transparency in the regulatory process was identified as a contributing factor in BP's Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster and the highly criticized response effort.

(09 Mar 2011)

At Long Last: EPA Releases Pesticide Use Statistics (Pesticide Action Network)

The EPA has released its statistics on pesticide use nationwide, the first such data release since the Bush administration blocked publication in 2001. Click here to learn about trends and how much and what types of pesticides are in use in the US.

(25 Feb 2011)

EPA Sued for Access to Texas Clean Air Records (Sierra Club)

The Sierra Club and the Environmental Integrity Project are suing the EPA for access to 350,000 pages of documents about coal-fired power plants blamed for making Texas' air pollution problems worse. "Right now, the EPA is simply following Luminant's bidding and unquestioningly parroting the corporation’s claim that almost 350,000 pages of documents are all 'trade secret' or 'confidential business information'."

(25 Feb 2011)

EPA Making Good on Chemical Transparency, But More Is Needed (OMB Watch)

The EPA is disclosing more information about hazardous chemicals while challenging industry claims that information should be concealed as trade secrets. With major reforms of the nation's chemical law held up in Congress, public health advocates are pushing EPA to take more aggressive action to make chemical health and safety information available to the public.

(24 Feb 2011)

Drinking Chrome – New Studies Expose Threats to Tap Water (OMB Watch)

A new health study found drinking water in 31 out of 35 U.S. cities contaminated by hexavalent chromium. Another study found that hexavalent chromium, a known carcinogen when inhaled and a suspected carcinogen when ingested, often contaminates water leaching from coal ash impoundments. The revelations expose the need for greater monitoring of public drinking water and stronger protections against contamination.

(23 Feb 2011)

EPA Expands TRI Progam (OMB Watch)

For the first time since 1999, the EPA has added chemicals to the list of toxic substances that must be reported to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). The TRI program tracks toxic pollution from thousands of facilities nationwide. The move is an overdue step in the right direction for this crucial right-to-know program and represents a welcome break from the previous administration's attempts to weaken TRI.

(03 Dec 2010)

EPA Plans for Greater Openness in Coming Years (OMB Watch)

The EPA will incorporate greater transparency, accountability, and community engagement throughout its operations over the next five years, according to the agency's recently released Fiscal Year (FY) 2011-2015 Strategic Plan. The new strategic plan is the agency's first developed under the Obama administration, which has made increasing government openness a high priority.

(21 Oct 2010)