We say FOIA, but we’re talking about the U.S. Freedom of Information Act. Truly one of the most democratic laws on the books, the Freedom of Information Act gives Americans the right to access any and all records produced by our federal government.
FOIA is used extensively by environmental organizations like WildEarth Guardians, but also by the media and even right wing groups working to shine a spotlight on what is a normally a very opaque federal government. We may not see fully eye to eye with groups like Judicial Watch or the Competitive Enterprise Institute, but these organizations’ efforts to use FOIA to expose government operations and attempts by the feds to subvert the American public and democracy are to be lauded.
If you didn’t know already, WildEarth Guardians’ Climate and Energy Program is providing access to all of its FOIA requests and the responses it receives. Check it out if you haven’t already >>
In the last few months, we’ve sent FOIA requests to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management for information related to the sale of public lands for fracking, we’ve sent requests to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for information related to air quality protection in Utah and Wyoming, we’ve sent requests to the Forest Service for information about oil and gas leasing in southwest Colorado, we’ve sent requests to the Secretary of the Interior’s office regarding new policies imposed by the Trump Administration, and we’ve sent many more requests to other agencies.
As we get responses, we’re making sure to make these records available to the public to help inform, educate, and empower people to be more active participants in our democracy.
For example, check out the latest responses to our request for records related to the Bureau of Land Management’s proposal to auction off more than 100,000 acres of public lands for fracking in Colorado this coming June.
While we’re still working on better ways for the public to access, sort, and search the information we obtain through FOIA, our repository now provides a detailed glimpse of government operations as they related to our public lands, our resources, and our climate.
We’re defending democracy even as we’re safeguarding our climate, our public lands, and our future. Stay tuned in and lean more!