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Government information in the news for 2022

The American Library Association’s Government Documents Round Table (GODORT) (of which I’m a member) has just published a solid list of government publications that made the news in 2022. Many thanks to Susanne Caro for putting together this guide, with submissions by Ben Amata, David Durant, Patrice McDermott, Albert Chapman, Vicki Tate, Ronnie Joiner, and Toby Green! While many of the publications were related to the investigation of documents illegally squirreled away at Mar-a-Lago (and which are helpfully separated in the right column of the guide), there were other publications that one might not even think of as “government publications” including the amazing first images from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope Webb Space Telescope.

First images of the Webb space telescope

Throughout the year government information specialists share document mentioned in the news. One of these individuals is Ben Amata who shares many articles and whose submissions make up the majority of these.

This years submission come from Ben Amata, David Durant, Patrice McDermott, Albert Chapman, Vicki Tate, Ronnie Joiner, and Toby Green.

Andrew Dudash, librarian at Penn State University Libraries has been working on a project to capture federal documents in the news. This great collection includes stories from previous years and is a great resource,

There are 100 stories listed but these are only a sample of documents that made the news. Of these there are 33 that are just related to the investigation of documents at Mar-a-Lago and those are in a separate section to the right.

EPA’s changes fracking report (at least) twice, downplaying then emphasizing risk of drinking water pollution

Wow, this *should* be bombshell news. According to joint reporting from APMreports and MarketPlace, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made 11th hour changes to a fracking study to downplay the risk of drinking water pollution (november 30 story). Then just a couple of days ago, EPA reversed course *again*, saying there *is* a connection between hydraulic fracturing and contamination in drinking water. Stay tuned for more industry-led waffling by EPA and worse as anti-EPA nihilists take the reins of the agency.

In a reversal, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released the final version of a six-year, $29 million study today, highlighting the conclusion that hydraulic fracturing has caused some contamination to drinking water resources across the country.

The federal agency dropped a controversial phrase from an earlier draft of the study that said the oil and gas drilling process known as fracking has not led to “widespread, systemic impacts” on drinking water resources.

The shift suggests there is even more uncertainty among government officials about the safety of fracking after the intensive study by the nation’s leading environmental agency. It also puts the EPA at odds with the oil and gas industry and an incoming Trump Administration that has vowed to further deregulate fracking.

via EPA reverses course, highlights fracking contamination of drinking water.

Doc in the news: Pike report on the CIA

I ran across a story in the Guardian on Friday that sent me on a document hunt. Congressman Alan Grayson wrote a piece in which he referenced the Pike Committee investigation of the CIA:

“Congressional oversight of the NSA is a joke. I should know, I’m in Congress.” Alan Grayson. The Guardian, Friday 25 October 2013.

In the 1970s, Congressman Otis Pike of New York chaired a special congressional committee to investigate abuses by the American so-called “intelligence community” – the spies. After the investigation, Pike commented:

‘It took this investigation to convince me that I had always been told lies, to make me realize that I was tired of being told lies. I’m tired of the spies telling lies, too.’

Pike’s investigation initiated one of the first congressional oversight debates for the vast and hidden collective of espionage agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the National Security Agency (NSA). Before the Pike Commission, Congress was kept in the dark about them – a tactic designed to thwart congressional deterrence of the sometimes illegal and often shocking activities carried out by the “intelligence community”. Today, we are seeing a repeat of this professional voyeurism by our nation’s spies, on an unprecedented and pervasive scale.

The [[Pike_Committee|Pike Committee]] was the common name of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence during the period when it was chaired by Democratic Representative Otis G. Pike of New York. It was the mirror to the Senate’s more famous [[Church_Committee|Church Committee]] which published fourteen reports in the mid-1970s on the formation of U.S. intelligence agencies, their operations, alleged abuses of law and of power that they had committed, and recommendations for reform.

Interestingly, the Pike committee report passed the Committee but was not approved by the House and not officially published. Consequently, a draft was leaked by Daniel Schorr of CBS News — Schorr refused to divulge his source! — to the Village Voice under the title “The CIA report the President doesn’t want you to read.” The Voice published major sections of the report and a British publisher published it in its entirety as CIA : the Pike report.

The House held a hearing to try and find out who leaked the document, but it’s findings were inconclusive:

Investigation of publication of Select Committee on Intelligence report : Hearings … ninety-fourth Congress, second session pursuant to H. Res. 1042 … July 19-29; Sept. 8-15, 1976

Here’s more historic context direct from the CIA Historian.

It takes a village: NASA Curiosity successfully lands on Mars. See the documents behind the landing #MSL

On August 6, 2012 around 1:30am EDT, the NASA rover Curiosity successfully landed on Mars after a perilous “seven minutes of terror.” And the Internet was abuzz!

But remember there was a lot of hard work, analysis, community input and criticism that went into those 7 minutes of terror. You can find out more about the entire mars landing project by going to the GPO’s Catalog of govt publications (CGP). And you can find NASA’s Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision for the Mars Science Laboratory Mission on the Mars Science Laboratory site — as well as some of the criticism about the project (yikes: “Mars Science Laboratory Mission says a launch accident discharging plutonium has a 1-in-420 chance of happening and could “release material into the regional area defined…to be within…62 miles of the launch pad,” That’s an area including Orlando.”). And many of these and other NASA publications and technical reports are available in FDLP libraries around the country.