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Old 01-24-2019   #1
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 85
AW and Freedom of Information Act Requests

Figured this was worth posting if you're a supporter of American Whitewater and their work. Changes to how NGO's like AW can get information from the federal government are in the pipeline. If you want to learn more or comment check out the link to the article below.



From AW:


"On December 28, 2018 the Department of the Interior (DOI) proposed a rule that would change the way Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) records requests are handled by the DOI. The FOIA allows the public to access information the national government has in its possession. It provides a legal requirement for government transparency and accountability, allowing for public debate, and also provides an avenue for legal discovery in judicial challenges against the policies of public agencies, which are otherwise hidden from scrutiny.

American Whitewater uses FOIA requests in a number of ways to work on stewardship issues for rivers on public lands across the country. At times, agencies within the Department of the Interior (DOI) such as the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and National Park Service (NPS) manage rivers where we work on issues such as protecting or restoring instream flows and the landscapes surrounding rivers, and ensuring or improving public access to rivers. Knowing the history of policies and how management decisions have been formed are critical to our advocacy and FOIA requests at times are the only ways to access this information. In the recent past we've used FOIA requests to investigate records related to the BLM's management of the Dolores River in southern Colorado, learn the origins of the paddling prohibitions in Yellowstone National Park, and in an attempt to secure information on the easement for Enloe Dam on the Similkameen River (WA) that we have identified for removal.

The Interior’s proposed changes to their FOIA procedures have the potential to greatly affect American Whitewater’s, individual’s, and other organization’s requests for records from the DOI in a negative way, leading to less requests being filled and less transparency overall at this vital public lands agency. The Department of the Interior claims that these changes are necessary due to an increase in the number of FOIA requests and lawsuits it has become responsible for in recent years. There is no mention as to how these rule changes hope to accomplish this goal however, whether by deflecting or rejecting more requests, or by streamlining the process and increasing the amount of requests the agency is able handle.

These are proposed rule changes and therefore the public has an opportunity to comment, however the comment period ends very soon!

Comments must be submitted by January 28, 2019 "



Visit their website for more info and links to the proposed changes.



American Whitewater



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Old 01-25-2019   #2
 
Andy H.'s Avatar
 
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
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Posts: 3,523
Thanks for posting this. Comment submitted opposing the rule change.

Here's the link directly to the comment form: DOI-2018-0017

I guess making it harder for citizens to know what our government is doing is how we "drain the swamp" and bring more transparency to government these days...

-AH
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