The DOC, citing security reasons, denied the Center’s requests to interview inmates and take photographs in the segregation unit at Waupun, or videotape an inmate at another facility. It redacted from the released records references to inmate injuries and the physical or mental health treatment they received. It categorically denied access to formal complaints filed by inmates against guards, although some released records do convey the inmates’ perspective. And it denied access to video recordings to various incidents, saying this would compromise security. Continue Reading
A judgment filed by the state Department of Natural Resources says Hi-Crush Augusta operated the two wells for five months in 2012, as well as operating without a water measuring meter in one of the wells. Continue Reading
The columnist has never encouraged the John Doe prosecutors. Neither has he disparaged them. He believes most public officials are honorable and entitled to the presumption that they are acting in good faith. That’s an unpopular view, but he’s sticking to it.
Oklahomans are seeing more earthquakes (possibly from fracking), silica health concerns aren’t borne out by Minnesota studies, and rail revenues shoot up due to all those cars full of sand. Continue Reading
This isn’t your father’s Farm Bill. That’s the finding of “Growing Influence: Lobbying and the 2014 Farm Bill,” a three-day series on the nearly $1 trillion spending plan signed into law in February by President Barack Obama. The bill, which will set national food and farm policy for the next decade, drew an estimated $500 million in lobbying by groups and companies ranging from large agri-business interests to nonprofits concerned about providing adequate food assistance to the poor. Harvest Public Media and the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting teamed up on the series exposing the powerful interests that weighed in as Congress debated the $956 billion spending plan. The media outlets created a searchable database of all of the Farm Bill-related lobbying. Continue Reading
While the number of Wisconsin car-train accidents has remained relatively steady in recent years, and derailments actually are down, some residents who live near train tracks used for transporting sand, primarily in western and northwestern communities, complain about noise and traffic delays in addition to safety worries. Continue Reading
Brad Schimel, the lone Republican candidate for state attorney general, ignited a firestorm with his response to a letter alleging pay-to-play politics. But beyond the spin, it isn’t clear that Schimel and his Democratic rivals are all that far apart.
Given that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and his supporters have so stridently affirmed their right to coordinate campaign activities with groups engaged solely in “issue advocacy,” will they be doing so in the upcoming fall election? Continue Reading
The Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit investigative news organization based in Washington, D.C., has just published an article on alleged coordination between political campaigns and outside groups that cites Wisconsin as a prime example. Among its findings: The collaboration Gov. Scott Walker is accused of would “barely raise an eyebrow” in some states. Continue Reading
Minnesota mines can be approved without an environmental review, an Eau Claire citizen finds a loophole that could leave taxpayers to foot the bill for reclamation, and We Energies wants a new natural gas pipeline to serve frac sand mines in western Wisconsin. Continue Reading
The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism filed a request with Darling’s office for her records on the bill. The 137 released pages provide some insight into what went on behind the scenes, but fall short of explaining why. Continue Reading
Reporter Alison Dirr just finished a yearlong internship with us, during which she covered the sprawling beat of Wisconsin’s fast-growing frac sand industry. We talk about that in the latest podcast. And below the audio link, further reflections from Dirr. Also, we now have music for the podcast. Alison Dirr: After a year as WisconsinWatch’s frac sand beat reporter, I’m leaving with a real appreciation of the complexity and nuance of this controversy. Continue Reading