Thursday, March 28, 2013

Support FOIA-Matic: A Tool for Pollution Response Transparency

Want to know what action the government takes when pollution is reported in the Gulf Region? Help us win support from the Knight News Challenge for our FOIA-matic online tool allowing citizens of the Gulf Coast to easily submit Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

Every day, SkyTruth Alerts users with subscriptions to the Gulf of Mexico get a litany of pollution reports, but now we have a chance at a share of $5 million dollars to build a tool to find out the rest of the story - and we need your help! The BP Gulf Oil Spill in 2010 attracted media attention from all over the world; but what about the dozens of spills, everything from 6 mile-long oil slicks to a few drops of crude oil, that are reported daily to the U.S. Coast Guard's National Response Center (NRC)? 

To help citizens to find out how the Coast Guard and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) responded to pollution reports, we are proposing FOIA-matic, a new feature to be added to Louisiana Bucket Brigade's iWitness Pollution Map and our 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. 

FOIA-matic, our proposal to the Knight News Challenge on Open Government, is open for feedback until 5 p.m. E.D.T. on Friday, April 29th.  Please click the link below and let us know what you think! Offer suggestions how the tool might work, discuss issues the project needs to account for, and let us know how you might benefit from such a tool.

The more feedback and constructive conversation on our entry, the better our chances to win a share of $5 million dollars in funding to build this resource. Providing your comments and applauding our entry requires you to "join the challenge," either by logging in with Facebook or a valid email address, but please take a few minutes to help make this tool a reality!

This post is tagged between the site of the Deepwater Horizon disaster and the chronically leaking Taylor Platform 23051 in order to appear in the Alerts feed of as many of our Gulf Coast subscribers as possible.

[[Location:28.859108, -88.672028]]

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Court Orders Fracking Contamination Case Records Unsealed

[From StateImpact PA - March 21, 2013] Range Resources, MarkWest Energy and Williams Gas agreed to settle a high profile contamination case in Washington County for $750,000, according to recently unsealed court records.  An order to unseal the records was entered Wednesday in Washington County Court of Common Pleas by President Judge Debbie O’Dell-Seneca. Judge O’Dell-Seneca reversed an earlier decision to permanently keep the more than 900 pages of court records secret. In the order she stated that the drilling company’s claims of privacy rights had no merit.

Here at SkyTruth, we believe that data and information about environmental issues should be open and available to the public, especially documentation about events that are affecting or may affect personal health and wellbeing. We have worked to improve fracking chemical disclosure from a database that was not effectively transparent, all so that citizens and public officials can make informed decisions about risks and benefits. We hope that information like this will be useful in making good decisions about natural resource development, whatever those may be.

NOTE: Location approximated based on street address listed in court documents.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Preliminary Results of Water Well Contamination Investigation - June 2012

A document review at a PA DEP office by Save Our Streams PA located this report from June 2012 on a possible drilling-fluid migration incident. The reports suggest that groundwater may have been contaminated by drilling fluids during the first 213 feet of drilling. The documents were captured as images and this file, though zipped, is over 1 gigabyte.

Downloading will take a while!

Preliminary Report: