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Delays in EPA information release

According to a press release from the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ), the lead hurricane reporter for New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper has “turned in desperation to the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to answer a basic question: Where are dangerous chemicals leaking as a result of Hurricane Katrina?”

The paper’s Mark Schleifstein, “had been asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that question for days — without an answer. So he filed a request under FOIA. Even though the federal statute provides for “expedited review” when a situation “could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety” of the public, he still has not received a response.

The SEJ notes that “Government compliance with FOIA appears to be deteriorating in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks” and has issued a new report:

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