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FOIA-Matic: A Tool for Pollution Response Transparency

Energy

SkyTruth Louisiana Bucket Brigade

Want to know what action the government takes when pollution is reported in the Gulf region? Help us win support from the Knight News Challenge for our FOIA-Matic online tool allowing citizens of the Gulf Coast to easily submit Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

Every day, SkyTruth Alerts users with subscriptions to the Gulf of Mexico get a litany of pollution reports, but now we have a chance at a share of $5 million dollars to build a tool to find out the rest of the story—and we need your help. The BP Gulf Oil Spill in 2010 attracted media attention from all over the world, but what about the dozens of spills, everything from six mile-long oil slicks to a few drops of crude oil, that are reported daily to the U.S. Coast Guard's National Response Center (NRC)?

To help citizens find out how the Coast Guard and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) responded to pollution reports in the Gulf region, we are proposing FOIA-matic, a new feature to be added to Louisiana Bucket Brigade's iWitness Pollution Map and SkyTruth's Gulf Oil Spill Tracker. This simple tool will enable anyone to easily submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Coast Guard and EPA to find out if there was any response or enforcement to a pollution report. 

FOIA-matic, our proposal to the Knight News Challenge on Open Government, is open for feedback until 5 p.m. E.D.T. this Friday, April 29. Click here to let us know what you think. Offer suggestions on how the tool might work, discuss issues the project needs to account for and let us know how you might benefit from such a tool.

The more feedback and constructive conversation on our entry, the better our chances to win a share of $5 million dollars in funding to build this resource. Providing your comments and applauding our entry requires you to "join the challenge," either by logging in with Facebook or a valid email address. Please take a few minutes to help make this tool a reality.

Visit EcoWatch’s GULF OIL SPILL page for more related news on this topic.

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