Lisa Jackson's Twitter feed is one of the ways the Environmental Protection Agency communicates with the public. She has 13,000 followers and follows Barack Obama, Greenversations, the official Blog of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, among others. I don’t know if she’s read many of the eco-blogs covered on this site, but she’s not following them on Twitter.
Public meetings have been the traditional way that the EPA has defensively communicated with the public in the past. Molly Ivins has written about Bob Spiegel's 1992 videotapes on the Edison Wetlands (New Jersey) in Bushwhacked.
I attended a meeting on hydraulic fracturing in Binghamton last year. The EPA seemed to do a great job. Judith Enck was a good listener. Bill Wolfe has a report on that meeting at WolfeNotes.com, "On the Threshold of a Fracking Nightmare".
Is our contact with EPA an outcome of a new transparency? How is it going?
Despite calls for transparency from Republicans (Sen. Johanns) and Democrats, (Rep. Hinchey); the Obama administration has signalled that the U.S. is intending to develop natural gas and promote Tar Sands development before environmental impact studies have been completed. There have been no social impact assessments (Freudenburg, 1986) on this development rush, just a lot of public gushing over the new Shalellionaires.
Despite the recent (1/11/11) announcement of a $7 million dollar EPA grant to fund cumulative human health risk assessment research, EPA science still emphasizes engineering over socioeconomic studies in both their selection of reviewers for the upcoming study of hydraulic fracturing and their communication with the public about toxic threats close to home.
Last year, a USGS (U.S. Geological Society) "fish" scientist was one of the co-authors of a study reported by Coal Tattoo:
West Virginians who live near streams polluted by coal mining are more likely to die of cancer, according to a first-of-its kind study published by researchers at West Virginia University and Virginia Tech.
Hitt, Nathaniel P., and Michael Hendryx. “Ecological Integrity of Streams Related to Human Cancer Mortality Rates.” EcoHealth 7, no. 1 (March 2010): 91-104.
Both the EPA and the USGS have many scientists doing research that cross over their specific areas of responsibility. The list of media contacts found below leaves me wondering how I would react if I were a West Virginian stream dweller. What about the stream by the school? What about our animals? Who can I call?
I have not found a Hydraulic Fracturing media representative as of 1/11/11. Hydraulic Fracturing deserves a subject area and its own media representative from this Federal Agency. (Neil Zusman, 2011-01-11.)
See: "Seven Priorities for EPA’s Future", a Memorandum from Lisa P. Jackson, Administrator to all EPA Employees. (Jan. 12, 2010).
Chemical Risk Management
Drinking Water Security
Federal advisory committees
FOIAs (Freedom of Information Acts)
Health Risk Assessments
Underground Storage Tanks
Ms. Jackson maintains a blog and this Twitter feed and is the person responsible for the Office of the Administrator. Press releases may be received by email automatically here:
Find contacts for specific topics in the table on the Media Contacts link above or call the general phone line: 202-564-4355.
Freudenburg, William R. “Social Impact Assessment.” Annual Review of Sociology 12 (January 1, 1986): 451-478. (subscription required).