Laws & Regulations

Effort To Reform Secret Federal Advisory Committees Soldiers On

Secret meetings and conflicts of interest for experts on federal advisory committees are still problems, openness advocates told Congress during Sunshine Week 2013. The searchable Federal Advisory Committee Act online database is a great aid for reporters in searching for this type of information on a particular beat.

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GOPers Call for Probe of Alleged EPA FOIA Blockage

Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and David Vitter (R-LA) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) on March 7, 2013, released an e-mail exchange they suggest shows EPA lawyers delaying responses to requests for controversial information. They also charge EPA with incompetence and urge U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate.

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Sequester May Bring Environmental Layoffs, Regulation Shortfalls

"The federal budget sequester took effect on March 1 with a number of likely environmental impacts. With $1.2 trillion in cuts over the next decade and $85 billion through the end of the fiscal year in September, layoffs and difficulties in enforcing the nation's environmental regulations are expected."

Source: Huffington Post, 03/01/2013

Judge Rules BLM Must Disclose Companies Nominating Drilling Tracts

A small chink appeared this month in the armor of nondisclosure that protects the oil and gas industry's relationship with federal leasing agencies. BLM had refused to disclose the nominating entities. Federal District Judge Matsch ruled that the Freedom of Information Act requires the disclosure.

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"High Court Throws Out $1B Fraud Verdict in Exxon Leak Case"

"Maryland's highest court on Tuesday struck down the bulk of a fraud case against ExxonMobil Corp. stemming from an underground gasoline leak in Baltimore County, reversing most of $1.65 billion in judgments and dealing a stunning blow to hundreds of families."

Source: Baltimore Sun, 02/27/2013

"Battle Lines Drawn for BP’s Day in Court"

"HOUSTON — Unless the Justice Department and BP reach a last-minute settlement, the British oil company will return to court on Monday to face tens of billions of dollars in civil claims from the 2010 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico that could cripple the company for years to come."

Source: NY Times, 02/20/2013


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