foia

Fri, 2012-04-27 12:55Farron Cousins
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Coal Ash Sites Posing Increasing Dangers To Water Supplies, Public Health

The Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) has once again put together a fantastic report regarding water contamination near coal ash disposal sites.

Last year, the EIP released several reports showing that drinking water near coal ash disposal sites in states across America contained dangerous levels of heavy metals and other toxins, including arsenic. In total, last year’s report revealed 53 sites in the United States where coal ash had polluted drinking water supplies.

The new report has identified a total of 116 coal ash sites in America that are leaching deadly toxins into the environment.

The new EIP report resulted from a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the EPA, which revealed that 49 different coal-fired power plants acknowledged that their own testing showed that groundwater pollution around their disposal sites far exceeded the federally acceptable levels. Among the chemicals reported to exceed federal standards at the coal-fired plants’ disposal sites are:
  

Fri, 2011-11-25 22:23Brendan DeMelle
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Did UK Police Quietly Sideline ‘Climategate’ Hacker Investigation?

The UK police force tasked with investigating the hacking of emails and documents from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia (the debunked “Climategate”) seems to have quietly de-prioritized its investigation earlier this year, according to documents released under the UK Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

The Norfolk Constabulary police force’s responses to FOIA requests indicate that the amount spent on attempts to identify the hacker in the last year was just £5,649.09 - with all but £80.05 spent on invoices for work carried out previously by private companies, suggesting police work on the investigation has ground to a halt.

Earlier this week, the hackers (ironically calling themselves “FOIA”) illegally released a second set of hacked material consisting of 5,349 emails and 23 documents from UEA. The university and independent reviews suggest these are leftovers from the initial November 2009 theft – in the words of one climate scientist, “two-year old turkey.” 

While nine independent inquiries have cleared the scientists of any wrongdoing in the wake of the baseless ‘Climategate’ episode, the person (or persons) responsible for the hacking has gotten off scot-free to date. The FOIA documents seem to indicate that the police investigation was derailed and perhaps dropped earlier this year.

The grand total spent by Norfolk police on the UEA hacker investigation since the November 2009 theft is just £80,905.11.

Tue, 2011-06-28 06:03Brendan DeMelle
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Denial For Hire: Willie Soon’s Career Fueled by Big Oil, Coal and Koch Money

Willie Soon, the notorious climate denier who has made a career out of attacking the IPCC and climate scientists, has received over $1 million in funding from Big Oil and coal industry sponsors over the past decade, according to a new report from Greenpeace.

The Greenpeace report, “Dr. Willie Soon: a Career Fueled by Big Oil and Coal,” reveals that $1.033 million of Dr. Soon’s funding since 2001 has come from oil and coal interests. Since 2002, every grant Dr. Soon received originated with fossil fuel interests, according to documents received from the Smithsonian Institution in response to Greenpeace FOIA requests.

The documents show that Willie Soon has received at least $175,000 from Koch family foundations (Soon is a key player in the Koch brothers’ climate denial machine, as Greenpeace documented previously), $230,000 from Southern Company, $274,000 from the American Petroleum Institute, and $335,000 from ExxonMobil, among other polluters.

Wed, 2011-01-12 23:17Emma Pullman
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State Department Refuses to Release Information on Tar Sands Oil Pipeline

The U.S. State Department notified a coalition of environmental groups last week that it has denied their Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for correspondence between the agency and a former presidential campaign staffer of Hillary Clinton’s, who, in his new role as oil industry lobbyist, is seeking Secretary of State Clinton’s approval for a tar sands oil pipeline.

The coalition, including Friends of the Earth, the Center for International Environmental Law, and Corporate Ethics International submitted a FOIA request in December targeted at Paul Elliott, now a lead lobbyist for TransCanada, the company aiming to build the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline that would bring 900,000 barrels a day of dirty tar sands over 2,000 miles through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, and a further 1,661 miles to refineries on the Gulf Coast.

The State Department denied the FOIA request on the grounds that the groups had not “reasonably described the records [they sought] in a way that someone familiar with Department records and programs could locate them” and cited the groups’ request for a waiver on the fees associated with the processing of the FOIA as reason to deny their request.

Marcie Keever, legal director for Friends of the Earth argues that the State Department did not have legitimate legal grounds to deny the FOIA request.

Tue, 2008-02-19 09:23Mitchell Anderson
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NOAA Stonewalls on DCSOVR Documents

The stonewalling on DSCOVR documents continues, this time with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

To recap, NASA was given over $100 million in taxpayers money to build the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR), a spacecraft designed to measure the energy budget of our warming planet from the unique vantage of a million miles away.

Even though it is fully completed over five years ago, DSCOVR is still sitting in a box at the Goddard Space Centre – likely for political reasons.

The mission was originally promoted by Al Gore – a liability when George Bush and Dick Cheney remain in the Whitehouse.

Fri, 2007-10-19 18:18Mitchell Anderson
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Whitehouse Stonewalls DSCOVR Information Request

If you're not interested in the issue of climate change, fine, but this story is as much about that as it is about a new ruling that further erodes your right to information from your government.
Digging up information on the cancellation of the DSCOVR climate satellite mission has been like pulling teeth. The dental work continued this week, this time with the Whitehouse.

Last month, I filed a Freedom of Information Request (FOIA) to the Office of Administration in Washington DC, asking for copies of any records “relating to the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) mission, formerly known as Triana, from the period January 1, 2000 to the present.” (documents attached to the end of this post).

Update: someone just sent this Washington Post article to us, seems we're pretty justified in our outrage.

Fri, 2007-10-19 11:35Kevin Grandia
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9 month waiting game for State Department FOIA request

In July, I wrote a piece about a major US climate report being stealthily released on a Friday afternoon by the State Department. You can find the report here, it was quite a scathing admission by the US government that very little was being done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and that they had very little planned to deal with it down the road.

I was not surprised that the report was released on a Friday afternoon, in the dog days of summer, without a mention in the State Department's daily press briefing - it's a common PR tactic when you have to release bad news.

Wed, 2007-09-19 16:07Mitchell Anderson
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FOIA, NASA, DSCOVR - My Acronym Hell

My last posting was about my teeth-pulling exercise to get information from NASA about their bizarre decision to cancel DSCOVR.

Last year, I filed a Freedom of Information (FOIA) request to NASA for all documents relating to the decision to cancel DSCOVR. Almost a year later, I got about 80 pages of documents - mostly letters from concerned scientists about the cancellation of the mission. NASA withheld all their internal documents so I filed an appeal. Last July, I got my response: Bupkis (that’s Yiddish for goat shit).

So in the interest of full disclosure, I am posting my FOIA request, all the documents from NASA, and my highly unsatisfactory appeal res

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