SEJournal welcomes back from hiatus our WatchDog feature, now recast as an opinion column from Joseph A. Davis, Society of Environmental Journalists’ veteran freedom of information advocate and longtime SEJournal contributor. In part one of a two-parter, find out why we’re relaunching the new column, plus get Davis’ take on government openness (or lack thereof) around coronavirus, as well as more on SEJ’s deep commitment to open information and a rundown of its recent FOI activities. And watch for part two next week.
Alaska and Hawaii
"A U.S. District Court judge in Alaska ruled against the Trump administration late Wednesday, sidelining its plans to open logging in part of the state’s Tongass National Forest."
"The federal Office of the Inspector General is opening an investigation into how the U.S. Forest Service granted millions of dollars to the State of Alaska to work on a Roadless Rule decision in the Tongass National Forest."
"Honolulu city officials, lashing out at the fossil fuel industry in a climate change lawsuit filed Monday, accused oil producers of concealing the dangers that greenhouse gas emissions from petroleum products would create, while reaping billions in profits."
"Oil rigs may soon be coming to the nation’s largest wildlife refuge. We find out what that could mean to the people who live there."
"A decision by the Department of the Interior to open up comments on a scientific study looking at how polar bears are impacted by oil and gas activity is raising questions from observers who say the department may be looking to undermine any opposition to drilling in protected Alaskan wilderness."
"Yellow cedar is a commercially valuable tree species for the timber industry. It grows from California all the way to Southeast Alaska, but there are fewer living trees growing across the range because of climate change."
"Two environmental groups gave formal notice Friday that they will sue to protect endangered Alaska beluga whales from problems caused by oil and gas operations."
"NUIQSUT, Alaska — The varnished wooden cross stands amid a cluster of grave markers tilted at odd angles in the cemetery, because the ground beneath them is sinking. Rising temperatures are thawing the once-frozen earth, forming pools of water that run through the graveyard."
Millions of acres of pristine Arctic wilderness long at the heart of a national debate over energy development and conservation are expected to be in the news again in 2020, with renewed plans to open land for drilling. The latest TipSheet explains the backstory and why the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge matters, plus story ideas and reporting resources.