Illegal to collect environmental data in Wyoming

Posted to Data Sharing  |  Tags: , ,  |  Nathan Yau

Wyoming just passed a law that makes it illegal to collect data about the environment, if you intend to send it to a federal or state government agency.

The reason? The state wants to conceal the fact that many of its streams are contaminated by E. coli bacteria, strains of which can cause serious health problems, even death. A small organization called Western Watersheds Project (which I represent pro bono in an unrelated lawsuit) has found the bacteria in a number of streams crossing federal land in concentrations that violate water quality standards under the federal Clean Water Act. Rather than engaging in an honest public debate about the cause or extent of the problem, Wyoming prefers to pretend the problem doesn’t exist. And under the new law, the state threatens anyone who would challenge that belief by producing information to the contrary with a term in jail.

Um, wut?

The intent part confuses me most. So is it okay to collect environmental data that you don’t plan on sending to a government agency? If I were in Wyoming, I’d grab the nearest water kit, collect data water data like a fiend, and send it to my local paper, news outlet, or anywhere else that could publicize high concentrations of E. coli.

Favorites

How We Spend Our Money, a Breakdown

We know spending changes when you have more money. Here’s by how much.

Causes of Death

There are many ways to die. Cancer. Infection. Mental. External. This is how different groups of people died over the past 10 years, visualized by age.

The Most Unisex Names in US History

Moving on from the most trendy names in US history, let’s look at the most unisex ones. Some names have …

19 Maps That Will Blow Your Mind and Change the Way You See the World. Top All-time. You Won’t Believe Your Eyes. Watch.

Many lists of maps promise to change the way you see the world, but this one actually does.