Policy and News Updates for December 5, 2006

Policy Updates

[new] EPA drops plan for less frequent reporting
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has abandoned plans to decrease the frequency of reporting requirements for the release of toxic chemicals by polluting companies. However, the EPA said that it will continue to push to increase the amount of pollutants that can released before a company must report.
Sources: EPA drops plan for less frequent toxic release reporting [JURIST]; Background on TRI [EPA]; OMB Watch’s Toxics Release Inventory Resource Center [OMB Watch]

[updated] New reports on Sensitive But Unclassified information
Several reports published last month deal with the problems of information sharing in the Executive Branch, including the proliferating Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU) categories of information. OpenTheGovernment.org’s Secrecy Report Card 2006 identifies fifty SBU designations, but some sources now say there may more than one hundred different designations.



News from Coalition Partners and Others


Bloggers organize for transparency in Congress
A group of bloggers at Daily Kos has started a project, called Committee Transparency, to organize citizens to become Congressional watchdogs. The project aims to have at least one citizen monitor every committee in Congress, then produce recommendations to make committees more transparent. Read a blog entry on the project from Paul Blumenthal at the Sunlight Foundation.

Legislative drafting for open government
"As the Democrats and Republicans are drafting their Open Government Agendas, the people should be, too." That’s the idea behind an experiment by the Sunlight Foundation to involve citizens in drafting a legislative agenda for open government. You can learn more about the project and contribute your ideas to the agenda here.