PROTECTING ACCESS TO ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION

RTKnet: Emergencies

Each year, companies report thousands of chemical fires and spills. Learn about the public's right to know and to freely communicate about these industry hazards, and about efforts to prevent pollution, save lives, and protect property through safer technologies.

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)

Media Claim Access To Spill Site Has Been Limited (Associated Press)

Media organizations say they are being allowed only limited access to areas impacted by the Gulf oil spill through restrictions on plane and boat traffic that are making it difficult to document the worst spill in U.S. history. Media photographers have been blocked from the spill area by BP and the U.S. government.

(02 Jun 2010)

EPA Expands Public Participation on Hazardous Waste Cleanup (U.S. EPA)

The EPA has launched an initiative to help communities more effectively participate in government decisions related to land cleanup, emergency preparedness and response, and the management of hazardous substances and waste. The Community Engagement Initiative (CEI) plan lays out steps to provide communities with information and opportunities to influence decisions on environmental cleanups. Read the plan.

(21 May 2010)

EPA and DHS Order BP to Stop Hiding Oil Spill Information (OMB Watch)

Today the EPA and Homeland Security took steps to increase the transparency of the response to BP's catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The oil company's actions have been criticized for failing to disclose or monitor important information about the spill, including the quantity of oil erupting into the Gulf, the potential health impacts of the oil and the chemicals used to disperse it, and water and air quality information.

(20 May 2010)

How Toxic Are Dispersants Being Used In Gulf Oil Spill? (USA Today)

The two "dispersants" now being dumped onto the Gulf oil spill are banned in the UK; and more effective and less toxic alternatives exist. Information on the toxicitiy, ingredients, and health impacts of the dispersants is either unkown or being kept secret.

(20 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)

Gulf Oil Spill Health Hazards

Learn more about the possible human health impacts of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico with this factsheet.

(13 May 2010)

BP Won't Say What Toxics It's Dumping Onto Its Oil Spill (OMB Watch)

BP refuses to disclose the identities of the chemical "dispersants" it is dumping onto its oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The chemical identities are considered trade secrets. Without knowing the chemical identities, we may never know what additional insults BP has left us to clean up for years to come.

(06 May 2010)

Spreading the Word on the Oil Spill (Federal Computer Week)

"Federal agencies are employing their Web sites and social media tools to release emergency response and health information about the leak from BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig off the coast of New Orleans." Tools include an EPA webpage, a NOAA website, a Facebook page, and Twitter.

(05 May 2010)

What Do YOU Want? (OMB Watch)

We’d like to hear your thoughts and priorities regarding improved access to environmental information. Please take this brief survey and let us know what is most important to YOU. You can access the survey at http://www.zoomerang.com/Survey/WEB22AGT9V3K2B.

(22 Apr 2010)