ICYMI: Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke wants to limit transparency despite promise during Senate hearing

Report shows intent to limit review time and restrict Freedom of Information Act requests

A new internal Department of the Interior report released by the Washington Post found an astonishing new direction under Secretary Ryan Zinke.

As reported by the Washington Post:

The report and its accompanying appendicies call for establishing “targeted time and page limits” for federal environmental analyses and for legislation that would limit the number of Freedom of Information Act requests a person or organization could submit to the agency.

“Not only is placing time and page limits on important analyses shortsighted and arbitrary, but it will also have the ultimate effect of limiting public participation and transparency, something we’ve frequently seen under Zinke’s leadership,” said Chris Saeger, executive director of the Western Values Project. “Further, the only reason to limit important tools for groups and citizens to see the workings of their government like Freedom of Information Act requests is that you have something to hide.”

A coalition of 19 bipartisan Western Governors sent the Secretary a letter requesting input on Interior’s reorganization plans that would have dramatic impacts on their states only to be dismissed by an Interior spokesperson.

This report also reveals the agency’s intent to restrict Freedom of Information Act requests in direct contradiction to the words Secretary Zinke said during his agency’s budget hearing when he told senators, “I intend to be the most transparent Interior, that I think in my lifetime.”

Western Values Project, based in Whitefish, Montana, defends America’s public lands through research and public education in order to hold policymakers and elected leaders accountable for jeopardizing the West’s outdoor heritage.

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