A scandal at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over regulatory capture of some toxic chemical officials has surfaced another serious issue — the EPA says it can’t provide related phone text messages. But it’s required to do so by law. And for environmental journalists, access to such records is key to holding the agency to account, argues WatchDog Opinion.
Even as national governments scramble to address climate change, including with a new global summit planned for next fall, environmental journalists may find that action (or inaction) by state and local governments will yield an abundance of climate stories in the year ahead. The latest TipSheet offers numerous questions to ask, story ideas and resources to mine for local climate reporting.
"Brazil inaugurates its new president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, on Sunday. Facing investigations, former President Jair Bolsonaro has taken refuge in Orlando."
"John Podesta, President Biden’s clean energy adviser, said the administration was working to ensure that a record $370 billion in new federal subsidies for electric vehicles, wind farms, batteries and other clean energy technologies is spent properly and avoids waste and abuse."
"The head of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission had big plans at the start of the Biden administration for assessing planet-warming emissions from new gas pipelines. But with FERC Chair Richard Glick’s time at the agency likely coming to an end, the commission’s path forward on climate assessments is as murky as ever."
"A big piece of the White House’s plan to lower government carbon emissions is drawing on an unlikely source: the federal checkbook."
"The first auction for wind development off the country’s Pacific coast concluded on Wednesday — raking in a total of $757.1 million after two days of fierce bidding."
"John Kerry, President Biden’s climate envoy, was evasive when discussing his future on Wednesday, saying he had “no plans” to step down, but he would not say if he hoped to continue to represent the country in future global climate talks."
When U.S. communities become unlivable due to climate change impacts, can residents count on government relocation assistance — and are those most in need of help actually getting it? Those questions kickstarted a year-long investigation led by three high-powered journalism organizations. Now they’re sharing their reporting resources toolkit and inviting other journalists to widen the coverage with more local stories.
The Department of Justice’s new regulations around reporter’s privilege — the protection of journalistic sources and notes — is a noteworthy advance. But the WatchDog Opinion column calls for more: a federal shield law that is less vulnerable to weakening by subsequent administrations. A take on the new regs, the state of current law and prospects for congressional action.