The SEJ WatchDog Alert

The WatchDog Alert (formerly WatchDog TipSheet from 2008-2019) was a regular source of story ideas, articles, updates, events and other information with a focus on freedom-of-information issues of concern to environmental journalists in both the United States and Canada.

WatchDog was compiled, edited and written by Joseph A. Davis, who directs the WatchDog Project, an activity of SEJ's Freedom of Information Task Force that reports on secrecy trends and supports reporters' efforts to make better use of FOIA.

Topics on the Beat: 

Latest WatchDog Alert Items

July 31, 2019

July 25, 2019

July 24, 2019

  • "Senators from both sides of the aisle are backing a bill to strengthen the public’s ability to obtain government records, seeking to counteract recent changes that make it easier for the Trump administration to withhold information."

  • A good-government advocacy group filed suit July 23, arguing that EPA's June 26 Freedom of Information Act rule had been issued illegally and violated FOIA law. The group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) asked a federal district court in D.C. to strike down the new EPA rule.

  • "Washington, DC — The odds of scientists successfully correcting breaches in scientific integrity are slim to none, according to an analysis by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Very few scientists report research misconduct under official agency scientific integrity policies and almost none of those complaints are investigated, and even fewer sustained."

  • "The Interior Department’s internal ethics watchdog has opened an investigation into whether top Trump appointees at the agency have violated federal open-record laws by withholding or delaying the release of public documents, emails and policy memos."

July 22, 2019

  • "On Monday, the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative (EDGI) released a new report on how the Trump administration has altered the use of climate change-related terms on federal websites."

  • "A bipartisan group of senators is pushing back against the new public records policy at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), saying it may violate the law by giving political appointees the power to hold back requested information.

    “The rule purports to make numerous changes to the EPA’s FOIA process that appear to run contrary to the letter and spirit of FOIA, thus undermining the American people’s right to access information from the EPA,” the senators wrote in a letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, referring to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

  • "Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), the chairwoman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, said she is “deeply troubled” by the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) lack of cooperation with lawmakers in a letter sent Thursday to EPA chief Andrew Wheeler. Johnson said the EPA's failure to provide requested information to her committee represented an “obstruction of Congress,” and she threatened “compulsory measures” if it does not provide previously requested information by July and August deadlines.