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Posts tagged "FOIA"

Interesting that the investigators found that “authorities and security forces” (e.g., government) are complicit. I wonder how they found this information (or if they assumed it)?Anyone have this report? If so, can you kindly send it to me?


FOIA-Matic: A Tool for Pollution Response Transparency


To help citizens find out how the Coast Guard and Environmental Protection Agency responded to pollution reports, we are proposing FOIA-matic, a new feature to be added to Louisiana Bucket Brigade‘s iWitness Pollution Map and SkyTruth‘s Gulf Oil Spill Tracker. This simple tool will enable anyone to easily submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Coast Guard and EPA to find out if  there was any response or enforcement to a pollution report.

Excellent. FOIA is complicated and expensive. Now, citizens can find more information from government regarding pollution (among other enviro-y things). Pass it on.

Note the above oil fire was just a few days ago.

The head of the CIA has resigned because penis. Here’s a bit about the CIA’s very secretive climate change program.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the CIA has been very close-mouthed—even for, you know, the CIA—about its work on climate change. Republican Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming tried to kill funding for the center earlier this year, and conservatives—who increasingly discount the reality of global warming—have expressed skepticism about the CIA’s climate work. It’s a rule every spy should know—when the heat is coming, keep your head down and stay out of sight.

The problem is that such the CIA’s environmental intelligence gathering has little value if it’s not being shared—not a single document has been issued, and the agency insists on classifying much of its material classified. And that secrecy means the agency itself, by virtue of its isolation, is missing out on the latest science.

Read more: TIME

FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) is an important US law that allows the public access to government records. Anyone can file a FOIA. Most scientists are employed by universities, which are subject to FOIA requests. A right-wing group called “American Tradition Institute” has filed several requests to review emails of climate scientists, especially communications those scientists have had with the media, such as the New York Times, etc.

The issue gets complicated from there - issues of intimidation, conspiracy, free speech, politics, etc. It’s an interesting question - should government employed scientists’ emails be made public?

UPDATE: Please read the story.

UPDATE II: What about students’ emails, who get government funding from TA-ing, dorm monitoring, scholarships, lab grants, government loans, etc.?

"The Virginia Supreme Court said Friday that Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II does not have the authority to demand records related to a former University of Virginia climate researcher’s work.

In 2010, Cuccinelli (R), a global warming skeptic, issued a civil investigative demand, essentially a subpoena, for documents from the state’s flagship university.

He sought five grant applications prepared by former professor Michael Mann and all e-mails between Mann and his research assistants, secretaries and 39 other scientists from across the country.

But a judge dismissed the subpoena. Cuccinelli then filed a new, more specific demand pertaining to just one $214,700 state grant, but he also appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court.

In an unusual step, U-Va. hired its own attorney and fought back, arguing that the demand exceeds Cuccinelli’s authority under state law and intrudes on the rights of professors to pursue academic inquiry free from political pressure.

Mann’s work has long been under attack by global warming skeptics, particularly after references to a statistical “trick” Mann used in his research surfaced in a series of leaked e-mails from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit. Mann and others have said the e-mail was taken out of context.

Some of his methodologies have been criticized by other scientists, but several inquires have concluded that there was no evidence that Mann engaged in efforts to falsify or suppress data.

Mann worked at U-Va. from 1999 to 2005. He now works at Penn State University.”


(A) senior State Department official at the United States Embassy in Ottawa procur(ed) invitations to Fourth of July parties for TransCanada officials, sharing information with the company about Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s meetings and cheering on TransCanada in its quest to gain approval of the giant pipeline…
NYTimes, showing that writing FOIA requests works.

Now reading. I’ll update soon.

CIA Rejects Freedom of Information Act Request for Climate Data

Via Secrecy News:

When the Central Intelligence Agency established a Center on Climate Change and National Security in 2009, it drew fierce opposition from congressional Republicans who disputed the need for an intelligence initiative on this topic. But now there is a different, and possibly better, reason to doubt the value of the Center: It has adopted an extreme view of classification policy which holds that everything the Center does is a national security secret.

Last week, the CIA categorically denied (pdf) a request under the Freedom of Information Act for a copy of any Center studies or reports concerning the impacts of global warming.

“We completed a thorough search for records responsive to your request and located material that we determined is currently and properly classified and must be denied in its entirety…,” wrote CIA’s Susan Viscuso to requester Jeffrey Richelson, an intelligence historian affiliated with the National Security Archive.

With some effort, one can imagine records related to climate change that would be properly classified. Such records might, for example, include information that was derived from classified collection methods or sources that could be compromised by their disclosure. Or perhaps such records might present analysis reflecting imminent threats to national security that would be exacerbated rather than corrected by publicizing them.

But that’s not what CIA said. Rather, it said that all of the Center’s work is classified and there is not even a single study, or a single passage in a single study, that could be released without damage to national security. That’s a familiar song, and it became tiresome long ago.

Image: Global Temperature Trends via NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory.