Climate + Energy

Transparency Squad Update-July 2017 (THIS ONE IS HUGE!)

Freedom road signThis month, WildEarth Guardians stepped up in a huge way to enforce transparency under President Trump.

In the last week, we’ve submitted multiple requests under the Freedom of Information Act for all e-mails, text messages, and voicemails for key U.S. Department of the Interior and U.S. Bureau of Land Management officials.  Our focus is on officials who have heavy hands in fracking and coal mining approvals in the American West, and our aim is to shine the brightest spotlight possible on their day-to-day communications and their management of American lands and resources.

It’s our first foray into directly seeking any and all communications records for federal officials, but it’s more than warranted.  As we explained in our request for Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s e-mails, text messages, and voicemails, we want to foster a more comprehensive public understanding of “how the Secretary of the Interior communicates, what the Secretary communicates about, and to whom the Secretary communicates.”


foia screenshot

Excerpt from Freedom of Information Act request seeking all of Ryan Zinke’s e-mails, text messages, and voicemails.

With Secretary Zinke and other Interior Department and Bureau of Land Management officials increasingly bending over backward to accommodate the demands of the fossil fuel industry, it’s more critical than ever for the American public to be aware of and informed about their communications, particularly with coal and oil and gas companies and their lobbyists.

In total, WildEarth Guardians submitted requests for communications records for 13 Interior and Bureau of Land Management officials, including:

These requests are part of an ongoing and intensifying campaign by WildEarth Guardians to aggressively and relentlessly pursue transparency under President Trump.  As we’ve explained before, we’re using the Freedom of Information Act and exercising our right to know what our government is doing and why, and to share that information with the public.

We’ve described it as our very own Climate and Energy Program Transparency Squad.  And with our latest volley of Freedom of Information Act requests, we’re certainly showing that our Transparency Squad will not tolerate an ounce of secrecy when it comes to the operations of the Interior Department and its agencies.

If you haven’t yet, check out our online repository of Freedom of Information Act requests and responses.  It’s still coming along, but for now, you can see where we’ve been focusing our transparency efforts and what records we’ve been obtaining.  Our goal is to ensure that information we request is 100% available to the public and used to ensure government accountability and citizen empowerment.

Transparency and a healthy democracy go hand and hand.  For our American way of life, we hope the Interior Department and Bureau of Land Management will protect our right to know and openly share their communications.

Stay tuned for more Transparency Squad updates from WildEarth Guardians’ Climate and Energy Program!

2 replies »

  1. THANK YOU, for standing up for what is right. Zinke is a horrible horrible choice for this position. Talk about the Fox guarding the Henhouse!!!!! I hate this administration so much. VOTE THEM OUT! Stay vigilant. We must fight for the wildlife and for our wild spaces. If they get their way they will gut the Endangered Species Act.