During the current government shutdown, the U.S. Department of the Interior quietly proposed changes to broaden its ability to block Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. Wild horse and burro advocates have long used these requests to effectively root out information detrimental to wild horses and burros that the Department tries to keep hidden. We must speak up now to help protect the wild horses and burros of America!
Even though the Interior Department is affected by the government shutdown, it managed to publish notice in the Federal Register on December 28 to satisfy the requirement for public comment on a new proposed rule. If the devious people there were hoping that government watch groups would not see the notice during this time of enforced hiatus, they were mistaken.
The Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility Executive Director Jeff Ruch warns, "These changes are designed to facilitate more official stonewalling and delays in producing public records..." This would include the Agency’s ability to simply not honor a request among other nefarious and vague stipulations in the proposed changes.
As a real-life example of the necessity for FOIA requests, an advocate asked a Bureau of Land Management wild horse holding facility for the number of horses that died there in a year. She was told "five foals" and that she would have to file a FOIA request for more information. The FOIA document then revealed that the facility had 34 foal deaths, 48 mare deaths, and 101 stillborn fetuses in one year!
Please act now to help protect and save wild horses and burros!
Public comments to the Department must be received by January 28, 2019. Please submit comments on the rulemaking to the U.S. Department of the Interior through this email letter.
Opposition to DOI-2018-0017
To [Decision Maker],
I respectfully submit the following comments for DOI-2018-0017: This proposed rule has no place in the United States of America departmental processes. Our government must strive for transparency and openness with the American people. The Freedom of Information Act was designed to provide citizens with requested information to enable this transparency. This proposed rule is vaguely written to provide for the potential stonewalling, or outright denial, of information the FOIA is supposed to protect.I am commenting on behalf of wild horse and burro advocates who need the ability of FOIA documents to hold our government accountable on certain issues that are hidden from public view. Animal advocates and countless other diverse advocacy groups utilize the ability to obtain documents through FOIA requests. The proposed rule is offered as a path to less litigation for the Department. However, it will most likely lead to more, not less, FOIA litigation due to non-transparency issues! I protest this proposed rule.
Thank you,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP]
If you take action and have not already registered, you will receive periodic updates and communications from In Defense of Animals.
© 2019 IDA