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EPA Crowdsources Massive Photo Project

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the become-the-mayor-of-a-superfund-site dept.

Government 48

coondoggie writes "Challenges from U.S. government agencies are all the rage these days and the Environmental Protection Agency today became the latest group to issue one: Take cool pictures of your surrounding environment to become part of historical record. The EPA's Locations Challenge looks to update a 40-year old agency project known as 'Documerica' which included more than 15,000 photographs of images of American environmental problems and everyday life. In the 1970s the EPA hired freelance photographers to capture images relating to environmental problems for the project."

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48 comments

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How much will they pay me? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38625082)

How much money do I get for each pic I send them? Oh right, it's supposed to be on a volunteering basis, which is a euphemism for "amateurs only".

Re:How much will they pay me? (4, Insightful)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 2 years ago | (#38625484)

How much money do I get for each pic I send them? Oh right, it's supposed to be on a volunteering basis, which is a euphemism for "amateurs only".

Don't be fooled into thinking the lack of money will be the big problem. Helping the government find you by submitting images of your natural habitat will only increase the likelihood of being identified.

Lesson 2 in How Not to be Seen is not to choose obvious cover. In Lesson 3, their neighbors ratted them out. Sending them photos of your beloved lands, well that's the equivalent of standing up.

Re:How much will they pay me? (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 2 years ago | (#38628234)

What's the License? (I looked but I couldn't see the terms.)

Do the individuals get to be lucky enough to retain copyright and "license" them to the government? Want to bet that a whole ton of them will get batch-sold to companies for other uses without your permission?

Could this be the chance to show them how dangerous copyright is? Ooh! I figured it out! It's the perfect Anti-SOPA weapon! "Hi Megacorp. You posted a copyrighted picture. Awww, too bad, your website comes down now." -- In theory anyway.

But then, that requires laws to actually be applied to anyone/entity with money to burn above the law.

Re:How much will they pay me? (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#38630754)

Are you kidding? Photographers want to be identified with their work.

They'll proudly point to it and say "That's my photo!"

Re:How much will they pay me? (1, Interesting)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38625590)

How much money do I get for each pic I send them?

Rofl - you mean how much money is the government going to bill you the taxpayer for, for each picture. I figure $3 million per picture is a fair estimate.

Re:How much will they pay me? (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#38625810)

Don't be an asshole.

Re:How much will they pay me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38626384)

What about a whole ass?

Great! Let's take pictures of (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38625104)

all the chemical plants and nuclear facilities, and behind government buildings where they leave the garbage. Then there's airports and other public places, they can be environmental hazards too. It could get cold being outdoors so much so I'll grow a beard. And while I'm down town maybe I'll pick up some fertiliser for my garden, or take my copy of the Quran back to the library. What could possibly go wrong?

Re:Great! Let's take pictures of (5, Funny)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 2 years ago | (#38625124)

From what it sounds like, you could become a hipster.

Re:Great! Let's take pictures of (5, Funny)

jensend (71114) | more than 2 years ago | (#38625140)

*shudder*

While he did ask what could go wrong I imagine he was talking about minor things like security trouble and arrests, not major catastrophes like that.

Re:Great! Let's take pictures of (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38625142)

I bet the nuclear facilities will be the cleanest out of your list.

AKA "Help the EPA justify its existance" (3, Insightful)

WoodstockJeff (568111) | more than 2 years ago | (#38625306)

The worse the pictures, the better. EPA wants reasons to increase its funding and enforcement efforts, but no excess budget to hire people to do it for them.

Re:AKA "Help the EPA justify its existance" (2)

kvvbassboy (2010962) | more than 2 years ago | (#38625406)

Which is fine, isn't it? Pardon me for sounding like redneck American (I am not even American), but considering that trillions of dollars have been spent on destruction, it would be could if some of that funding could be diverted to useful like monitoring and preventing environmental abuse.

Re:AKA "Help the EPA justify its existance" (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | more than 2 years ago | (#38625592)

Another use of this could be to take photos of the currently pristine areas that are proposed to be disturbed by oil and gas pipelines coming down from Canada. Give everyone a nice "before" record.

Re:AKA "Help the EPA justify its existance" (1)

byronivs (1626319) | more than 2 years ago | (#38626642)

More like, "Cooter, let's git them fridgeraters to the bottom of the crick fore sheriff Lobo comes round!" Throws beer bottle into brush. Peels off in lifted Chevy belching hydrocarbons.

Re:AKA "Help the EPA justify its existance" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38625566)

Well, vote for Ron Paul and the EPA will have even less of a budget then it currently has.

Ron Paul: Idealist. Take that as you will, but I have my own opinions on him.

You call it "American environmental problem" . . . (3, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38625310)

. . . I call it my "front yard" . . .

It's a trap! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38625454)

One agency encourages you to take pictures so another can abuse you for doing so? YAY!

photo EPA buildings (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38625464)

They arrive at between 9-11am, and leave between 2-3pm. At least a third of the offices are vacant or being used for "storage" throughout the day, but at least a third of the offices leave the lights on most of the night. Want to know how to cut the federal budget and improve the economy at the same time? Cut several thousand EPA jobs. Leeching hypocrits.

Re:photo EPA buildings (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38628288)

Mod the parent down if you want, but he has a point. The average civilian GS is notoriously lazy and wasteful. If I ever assume power in the US, one of my first decrees would be to prohibit anyone from being a civilian employee of the government for more than 10 years of their lives and no more than 2 years at a time. That way they only lose so much of their work ethic. I'd also shut the revolving door between government and contracting.

Not a "Project" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38625520)

Not a "Project" but a P.R. Campaign

San Joaquin Valley (4, Informative)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | more than 2 years ago | (#38625674)

How about I take pictures of the once-fertile farmland that the EPA turned into a desolated desert and drove 70,000 people out of work and out of the area? Think they would highlight that one?

Re:San Joaquin Valley (2)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38625884)

How about I take pictures of the once-fertile farmland that the EPA turned into a desolated desert and drove 70,000 people out of work and out of the area? Think they would highlight that one?

Um.... I'm no expert, but what did that farmland look like before humans irrigated it? And, what were the environmental costs associated with the irrigation project?

Re:San Joaquin Valley (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38626166)

You are everything that is wrong with America. Specifically.. long term ignorance yet a willingness to insinuate a completely ill-informed defense (ooh, in the form of questions? you don't say?) for your green religion.

I live on the other side of the planet yet apparently even I know more than you! Dont even pretend that you really care. Stop faking. You are only kidding yourself.. which is fine.. but keep it to yourself. Have fun not knowing whats happening around you. Feel good, instead of be good.

Re:San Joaquin Valley (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38627092)

>use of the term "green religion"

Automatic disqualification from reasonable debate.

Re:San Joaquin Valley (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 2 years ago | (#38628718)

Didn't look like the AC was looking for a debate. Looked like he was pointing out the absurd extent of the ignorance of American liberals, Hes right. I'm not sure how anyone could have lived in America in the past few years without learning about the goings-ons of the EPA in San Joaquin Valley. Its not just the water pumps. Once the pumps were turned off, the air quality dropped (DUH!) so the EPA started freaking out about that too.

As far as the GP, it was a desert before the irrigation. It is turning into a desert again. Mankind turned it into a lush fertile valley, but the environmental dipshits demanded that it be turned back into a fucking desert. You bet your ass this had made front page news repeatedly. Tens of thousands of displaced workers and farm owners makes the news even without the benefit concerts (thats right.. FUCKING BENEFIT CONCERTS) that have helped raise more awareness.

The reason that people on the other side of the planet know about this but American liberals don't is because the rest of the planet isn't pretending to be aware.

Re:San Joaquin Valley (2)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647438)

Sorry, I don't live on the other side of the planet, I live on the other side of the country. I am very aware of environmental issues, in my backyard and many beyond. I don't pretend to know everything about everything.

It's nice that we built a paradise in the desert, but can't that water be put to better use somewhere that will use it more... efficiently? I mean, we can build cities on the ocean if we want to, too, but what's the point? Sorry about your community that was living in an artificial paradise being wiped out and all, and I'm sure there's some nefarious politico-corporate stuff going on behind the scenes of anything that involves that many people and that much money, but, forget about the 90 years of rich history that was built up there and ask yourself: was it really a good idea in the first place?

I've got the same question about the current population and water usage in Florida... when we've got saltwater intrusion miles inland from the wells sucking so hard on the groundwater (something that was just a vague potential problem when I was in school in the 1970s, it's reality in spades today), isn't it time to question whether or not we should continue to monkey with the natural systems, or learn to adapt to things closer to their natural state? Most major engineering projects in Florida (and, I'm mostly thinking of the Everglades and major dredging projects) have turned into big environmental screw-ups that take decades to settle down to something resembling their natural state, most of coastal Florida's environment is still is a horrible state compared to 100 years ago. But, hey, we've got lots of places to play in our motor-yachts, and the property values are up up up up up, that's progress, right?

   

Re:San Joaquin Valley (5, Interesting)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | more than 2 years ago | (#38626186)

Um.... I'm no expert, but what did that farmland look like before humans irrigated it? And, what were the environmental costs associated with the irrigation project?

Well it's been irrigated since the beginning of the 20th century, with most of the infrastructure in place since the 1920's. So I assume any pictures of the area beforehand are rare or non-existent. The only negative environmental cost was in the early 1980's when attempts to deal with the raised water table by subsurface drains resulted in increased selenium levels which was too high to be tolerated by migratory bird populations. That issue was quickly dealt with and is no longer an issue.

The EPA's concern was decreased populations of Delta Smelts in the San Joaquin river, which they attributed to the pumps. This connection was never satisfactorily made, but they made the decision to cut off the pumps anyway. There was no study into the impact of the Delta Smelt population, thorough investigation of the reasons for it, any effects that the reduction of Delta Smelts would have, or what the trade-offs were.

The real issue is that when the alarm was raised to "do something" about the Delta Smelt, the usual suspects (Monsanto and DuPont) made sure that it was not their products, used extensively throughout the watershed areas for the San Francisco bay, and so another scapegoat was found. So their shills in the Federal bureaucracy made sure that the finger was pointed to the irrigation pumps instead. They irrigate land mostly used for orchards, where it's mostly small farmers that us a lot of migratory labor and significantly less Monsanto and DuPont products than the farmers in the bay watershed area that till, RoundUp, plant seed, RoundUp, spray pesticide, and clear-cut harvest every year.

totalitarians (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38626078)

the smartest, most righteous, safest, most patriotic thing we can all do is not cooperate at any turn. our government has become a police state already. each new stage of this descent into totalitarianism is couched in the innocuous sounding requests for voluntary compliance -- only this time compliance goes further into actively helping them. let's not forget the two stunningly ineffective failed websites from the last couple years -- flag@whitehouse.gov and attackwatch@whitehouse.gov -- both of which urged us all to rat out anyone we might suspect of being "misinformed." each and every institution or profession or social organization that becomes government connected becomes government's surrogate, an extension of its eyes and ears. haven't you noticed how most professional accountants act as if they're working for the IRS and not you. they've also tried to criminalize lawyers but so far haven't succeeded. i read that TSA is going to set up check points on the highways. while EPA attempts to force the removal of insignificant traces of mercury from the coal burning power plants by shutting them down, no one in government seems to have the slightest problem with the far more abundant mercury in the mandated lightbulbs we're all supposed to use, nor do they evince the slightest concern over the death-by-stress that they deal out by constantly being on our backs, in our pockets, listening to our conversations or generally trying to undermine our freedom. they've coming after the internet hard and fast. they want a one world system where you must obey.

Re:totalitarians (1)

GaryOlson (737642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38626364)

I'm afraid I have to agree -- when interacting with government, no good deed goes unpunished. Any act of cooperation is eventually interpreted as voluntary subjugation.

Self propagation (1, Insightful)

Coolhand2120 (1001761) | more than 2 years ago | (#38626502)

Any time you have an agency that both discovers its own problems to solve and then solves the problems it finds will always find more problems that need solving. Just like the TSA, after the TSA was ramped up all of a sudden so many new places that were never subject to TSA searches all of a sudden became "weak points" discovered by the TSA.

This is exactly like a crappy anti-malware program (which I consider malware in and of itself) that tells you about the "critical security threat found: cookie from amazon.com" in order to prove how useful it its poor owner.

IMHO the EPA is the greatest threat to our economy in our lifetime. I can think of several examples in my life where the EPA has caused real financial harm to companies in the guise of protecting the environment, but actually harmed the environment. Here's a good example. My friend works at the Long Beach, CA steam plant. The EPA has dictated that they can only have 2 of their 5 stacks operational at any time. The city however requires power, so they two stacks that they do run must run at an inefficient higher level, causing more "harm" (steam) to the environment than if they ran all five of the stacks at a more efficient lower level. There are at least two other examples in my life of the EPA causing massive problems while not even solving the problem they "discovered" in the first place, so imagine how many other people have evidence of the EPA running amok, causing great harm and no good.

And try telling the EPA their wrong.

Re:Self propagation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38627212)

Yes, because your such an awesome economist, you figured out that the problem with the economy was the EPA's fault. EPA isn't a threat, they do some good work. Yes, there's times when people make bad decisions, like that time when you decided to make a blow hard post on slashdot.

Re:Self propagation (2)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#38627222)

the EPA is the greatest threat to our economy in our lifetime

I know, if we don't let Job Creators and their Corporations pollute like they did in the prior two centuries, well we're just fucked.

The EPA has dictated that they can only have 2 of their 5 stacks operational at any time.

Can you cite anything related to this, or is this just a dubious anecdote? That said, it is near Los Angeles which has nasty smog problems as it is.

There are at least two other examples in my life of the EPA causing massive problems while not even solving the problem they "discovered" in the first place, so imagine how many other people have evidence of the EPA running amok, causing great harm and no good.

Please? Can you name them?

Man, I'd love to see how quickly we'd end up with even more superfund sites. Well, none actually as no one would be around to declare them, but I'm sure there would be plenty of industries ready and willing to dump untreated toxic waste right into the ground given the chance. That's how costs are kept down!

Re:Self propagation (1)

Coolhand2120 (1001761) | more than 2 years ago | (#38631950)

Can you cite anything related to this, or is this just a dubious anecdote? That said, it is near Los Angeles which has nasty smog problems as it is.

No, as I said, a friend is a operator at the steam plant, I heard this via word of mouth not a news article. Is my friend lying to me? I doubt it. Running two stacks instead of whatever is most efficient causes more harm to the environment than if the EPA had not been involved, so the EPA is making the smog problem worse. And no, I have no citation. You can choose to believe my story or not, I don't really care.

Please? Can you name them?

Both of these stories happened to the ceramics business I work for.

1) The AQMD (Air quality management department) declared our business to be guilty of creating "nuisance dust" and now we have to pay almost $20,000.00/yr to be allowed to create this dust. What's the dust we're creating? Sand, and we are on the beach, full of sand, even then, it stays inside the factory. Even if it was a nuisance to the surrounding community, which it is not, I fail to see how paying the government $20,000.00 is going to help anyone.

2) The EPA requires that all of our glazes pass a lead test. "Good idea" you're thinking. But no. We send our items out to be tested by certified labs (at great cost also). If we make the sample piece and send it for testing, it will always pass, if we wash the piece in city tap water and then send it the amount of lead in the water that is no longer on the item is enough to make it fail the test. My point here is that the EPA has put a burden on the business to pass a lead test that is orders of magnitude more strict than the requirements they have for drinking water.

So there's my other two stories, not as compelling as the steam plant, but still an unnecessary burden created by the EPA. What they're doing here is helping nobody and greatly harming the business I work for.

RTFA (4, Informative)

Phaedrus420 (860578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38626518)

Submission fails to note that they want pictures of the same locations as the original project. That does take a lot of fun out of the comments already posted, though, so, please, carry on.

Re:RTFA (3, Informative)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 2 years ago | (#38627394)

Submission fails to note that they want pictures of the same locations as the original project.

Plus, if you follow through to the collection of original photos you're supposed to recreate [flickr.com] you'll discover that they've helpfully sorted them by photographer, and not, say, location.

Because who wouldn't want to sift through 15,000 photos organized by photographer to see if they can find one near them that they can recreate?

Re:RTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38629986)

From the flickr page:

The U.S. National Archives digitized more than 15,000 photographs from the series Documerica (Local ID 412-DA) and included them in our online catalog. Our Web site has quick catalog search links for featured DOCUMERICA topics [archives.gov] , locations [archives.gov] , and photographers [archives.gov] .

Re:RTFA (2)

Stickybombs (1805046) | more than 2 years ago | (#38630140)

On the left side of the page in your link, there is another link to where they are sorted by location.

Re:RTFA (1)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 2 years ago | (#38631534)

Did you try using it? It goes to the National Archives website. Click on one of the states. Let's try Alabama.

First result is "White House Central Files Subject File, compiled 1977 - 1981." What does that have to do with the Documerica project, done 1971-1977? Well, I guess they overlap a year. Apparently that's close enough.

The next result is "EPA GULF COAST WATER SUPPLY RESEARCH LABORATORY, DAUPHIN ISLAND. STAFF MEETING, 05/1972" (yes, in all caps).

Click through that, you get a very verbose description of the single picture, plus a link to a "digital copy." Click on that, and you get a thumbnail to that picture. Click on that, and finally get the picture. Maybe. The ones I've tried gave me a horribly low-resolution version. The Flickr versions are much higher resolution.

So, yeah: good luck using that "by location" feature to look through pictures, considering it takes two clicks per picture to view a tiny thumbnail, and the best you can get is a fairly low resolution version.

On the plus side, you can then go try and hunt down the Flickr version by photographer to try and get a useable copy.

How about (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38626718)

We send them pictures of the many ways the EPA fucks our every day life. 5 million pics of high gas prices on the way. I know those EPA terrorists think that the gas prices are too low for their plans. But why the hell should we make it easy on those bastards to wreck our lives?

Re:How about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38635470)

Why are high gas prices the EPA's fault, per-se? Aren't gas prices elevated because maybe there are a few issues with using gasoline?

how long before someone gets jailed (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38626720)

I thought it was now established that the only ones taking pictures in public were; perverts, hippies obstructing police business and terrorists plotting attacks ?

It works like this: (2)

sidthegeek (626567) | more than 2 years ago | (#38627058)

You take the photos of environmental hazards and tell them where they are. Then they'll bring huge glass domes to contain those environmental problems.

A Waste (1)

fizzer06 (1500649) | more than 2 years ago | (#38627400)

The government has come through again and found a new way to piss away tax dollars.

help the EPA? don't measure radiation, floride (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38627972)

Why would I want to help them rolling out their globalist affilated agenda 21, destroying my life, at the local city level.

Fukushima hot particles in the USA vs No Burn Day (One is proudly on TV the other is silence) those aren't journalists! they won't tell you your home's air filter probably is a hot object, they won't tell you the daily readings, just the agenda 21 crap SMOG, Polin, Spare the Air Day, No Burn Day. What difference does it make if you have no job, no money, but you have firewood, and now you can't burn it? Oh that's right, you still have a job, you are supporting the WAR.

Global Warming (uh) Cooling (Uh) Climate Change (uh) Global Starvation vs Aerial Spraying with no public oversight + Many Haarp Technology type stations heating the ionisphere and using it as a play toy. The sites are there, we have coordinates. It's not conspiracy.

Now why would I want to chuck the US Constitution, have my oath breaking treasonous officials sign a UN Climate treaty, then destroy me at the local level under Agenda 21 and all the other bs they passed lately, while forcing me to pay the psychopathic globalist banksters a motherfucking Carbon Tax?
Yeah no right to remain silent, no right to redress government.
You'll see what comes next.

Go ahead nerds, help the EPA destroy you locally.
Don't worry about hot particles, or hexacloride or MTBE's or floride in the water, don't worry about GMO's which rot in your stomach like poison, don't worry about HFCS in your coke, or being denied free access (without hormones and beaurcracy) to your own garden, cows. Go buy a slurpee, get a couple big macs, life is short live it up! Yeah the Health Bill was wonderful too, now you can't get health suppliments, and the old DEA is finally figured out to attack the medical cannabis people by changing the local zoning laws and threating land seizure and IRS audit. Yeah, NDAA wisk away, stripped of your citizenship, and a propane torch and pliers bitch. You can't afford a doctor, you finally found cannabis for pain, but now we are going to force you to pay for a doctor under some other fucking system anyway, oh yeah and we'll(the IRS) point the guns at you when you turn in your Taxes to the IRS, "Where's my money" they say . Yeah you fuckers thats right. "WHERES MY MONEY?" All you fscking nerds know ASM and C and GTK and Kernel and bla bla bla, not one of you can audit the fucking fed, or your local bank, or your city's garbage man, or your city, state, how come you don't even know what CAFR is, and why isn't it ever on the TV when they talk about their planned budgets which raise tax, and spend more. CAFR isn't even mentioned.

If you were really smart, you would work on these problems instead. PIPA POPA COTA NDAA Patriot act DHS TSA they all need to be de-activated, reversed, put under the damn constitution. Your business's which don't support the war are dying, your banks are mafia until then. But go ahead help the EPA enslave you.

How about a charge of TREASON for all the people who did the NDAA?
fuck this bullshit

EPA Photos should present Agency failures! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38628830)

Isn't the EPA one of the make waste AGENCIES designed to support the GLOBAL GOVERNMENT?

Isn't EPA the congressional Agency RESPONSIBLE to block AMERICAN PRODUCTIVE ENTERPRISE from competing against the Global Corporate .1% SENMACE? Doesn't the EPA prohibit manufacturing and production of domestic anything.

Except for the EPA, domestic manufacturing and mineral production would challenge and compete in global markets. Domestic competition would deny the global enterprises their worldwide, military supported, global monopoly on making money and owning commercial enterprise? The EPA supports the global commercial enterprise.

I think pictures should be made public, not forwarded to EPA, showing "the status of the "so-called" SUPER FUNDS SITES [EPA wasted areas] where EPA directs millions of tax payer bucks, in the name of clean up, mainly to prevent Entrepreneurial domestic American earnings from ever again competing against the global commercial interests. [Go to the epa site, dot gov, then slash superfund].

The damage to the American economy, Environmental laws accounts-for, far exceeds human benefit unless of course one believes chasing productive American businesses into a foreign country, transporting American earnings to far-a-way foreign place, exchanging US dollars for foreign currency and replacing America workers with foreign workers is progress? These domestic economic negatives imposed by EPA are global benefits enjoyed by "global too big to fails".

It seems like (1)

WeeBit (961530) | more than 2 years ago | (#38629792)

More and more of them want people to work for them for free. Fire the crew, and open it to the public to fill the void. Got pictures? Send them in! CNN did this. Although they wont admit to it. They fired/laid off and it looks like their ireporters are doing their jobs for nothing. Collecting environmental pictures is fine but I wonder how insurance companies will deal with the risk takers going after pictures in hazard areas? Who exactly will reimburse the ones getting the risky pictures if something bad happens?

No One will because they will claim that you acted on your own. Woe you. But a smart move by the Environmental Protection Agency.
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