PROTECTING ACCESS TO ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION

RTKnet: Internet Access

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)

Tell EPA How to Protect Drinking Water (U.S. EPA)

The EPA is launching a web-based discussion forum to gather public input on how the agency can improve protection of drinking water. The information will be used in implementing EPA’s new drinking water strategy announced by Administrator Lisa P. Jackson in March. To join the discussion: http://blog.epa.gov/dwstrat. There will also be a listening session August 19, in Rancho Cucamonga, CA

(17 Aug 2010)

EPA Pushing TRI Data Out to Public with New Tools, Earliest Data Release Ever (OMB Watch)

The EPA has released the preliminary 2009 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data, the earliest data release in the history of the program. In addition, new tools help the public use the data: a mobile device application, myRight-to-Know, and a searchable database of chemical hazard data, TRI-CHIP.

(30 Jul 2010)

USDA Launches Ask The Expert (USDA)

USDA launched Ask The Expert, a knowledge-based search engine that holds nearly 2,000 questions and answers for a plethora of USDA programs. According to the Agriculture Secretary, "This exciting new tool is one of the many ways the USDA is working hard to use technology to provide the public with high quality service."

(20 Jul 2010)

Drilling Company Lists Hazardous Chemicals Used in Hydraulic Fracturing (Pro Publica)

Range Resources plans to disclose the hazardous chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing in Pennsylvania wells on their website. Earthjustice asserts that although this list will help specialists determine whether drilling is polluting drinking water, "It does not by any stretch of the imagination cover what most people would consider to be hazardous."

(15 Jul 2010)

EPA Asks for Public Comment on Administrator Jackson's Draft Plan (EPA)

The EPA is seeking public comment on Administrator Lisa P. Jackson's draft strategic plan, which will help to advance her priorities, describes the environmental and health benefits the public can expect over the next five years, and explains how the EPA plans to achieve those goals. For the first time, the EPA is using a discussion forum to solicit feedback on the strategic plan.

(08 Jul 2010)

EPA Launches A Collaborative Web Site for Integrative Environmental Modeling (EPA)

The EPA has launched the Integrative Modeling Hub (iemHUB), which allows environmental researchers to combine models after analyzing environmental problems to develop a better understanding of the environment. According to the EPA's Office of Research and Development, iemHUB "will advance our ability to predict the impacts of our actions on the environment."

(08 Jul 2010)

Administration Launches Oil Spill Response Website (deepwaterhorizonresponse.com)

National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen announced the launch of RestoreTheGulf.gov, a website dedicated to improving public access to information about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill response and recovery. According to Allen, the web site "will provide even greater transparency and openness about the BP oil spill." The Unified Area Command's current website, www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com, will be phased out over the coming weeks as information there is moved to RestoreTheGulf.gov.

(07 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. The Health Department may use the list to increase public awareness or other organizations might point to the list to inform consumers.

(02 Jul 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)