Wild Horse Freedom Federation’s comments to National Archives regarding Dept. of the Interior’s massive purge of records

SOURCE:  Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Note to our readers:  Within the next few days we’ll be posting an Action Alert with sample comments for the public to send to National Archives.

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NARA (ACRA)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        8601 Adelphi Road                                                                                                                                                                                                                              College Park MD 20740-6001

request.schedule@nara.gov

fax: 301-837-3698

Statement on U.S. Department of the Interior Retention Schedules

RE: DAA-0048-2015-0003

November 17, 2018

Wild Horse Freedom Federation, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and is one of the major wild horse & burro advocacy organizations in the United States.  Wild Horse Freedom Federation strongly urges the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to reconsider the proposed records retention schedule approved on or about Aug 2, 2018 (DAA-0048-2015-0003), relating to the disposition of a range of Department of the Interior records.

DAA-0048-2015-0003 should not be approved in its current form.  In this letter we detail our reasons why many records scheduled for destruction are valuable to research and as historical records, and should be retained permanently.

Wild Horse Freedom Federation and it’s Vice-President, Debbie Coffey, have filed about 150 Freedom of Information Act requests in the past 8 years.  One of our goals has been to provide the public with detailed information that is not available online regarding the management of America’s wild horses & burros on public lands by the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management Wild Horse & Burro Program.  We have shared information gathered from our FOIA requests with the media and the public, including on our documentation page on our website:  http://wildhorsefreedomfederation.org/documentation/

We have also shared information from our FOIA requests with our listeners on Wild Horse & Burro Radio, an internet radio show that is an educational outreach program of Wild Horse Freedom Federation.  We have had 50,000 listeners within the first 24 hours of our shows, which are then archived as an educational library.  We have also had many experts regarding many aspects of public lands issues as guests on this radio show. http://wildhorsefreedomfederation.org/wild-horse-and-burro-radio/

Wild Horse Freedom Federation has also served the public with careful oversight of many aspects of the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse & Burro Program.

In July 2017, Wild Horse Freedom Federation issued a WHITE PAPER to members of Congress, the media and the public.  Hundreds of pages of FOIA records were used as Exhibits.

WHITE PAPER:  http://wildhorsefreedomfederation.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/White-Paper.pdf

EXHIBITS:  http://www.wildhoofbeats.com/White-Paper-Full-Exhibit-1-17-2.pdf

Unfortunately, the Department of Interior is now requesting the destruction of many similar documents within only a few years.  There is much public interest in America’s wild horses & burros, along with resources on our public lands.

It is of great concern to our organization that not only does the schedule permit the Department of the Interior to dispose of these critical records, it permits the disposal of agency records going back more than 50 years and it also authorizes the agencies to stop saving these records in the future.

We are asking NARA not to destroy this history of America’s wild horses and burros, wildlife and public lands, and to permanently preserve as many records as possible.

Below, we give our reasons specific records have research and historical value, along with our request for the records retention of each set of records.

Proposed Item      DAA-0048-2015-0003:

READ OUR COMMENTS HERE

4 comments

  1. This is far more important than I first realized. It is a plan to destroy historical records about not only wild horses and burros but my public lands and resources.
    I sent them 14 pages yesterday, requesting that the public’s documentation not be destroyed.
    One sentence I sent them:
    “I am a life-long tax-paying American citizen, as well as being an historical and environmental researcher for many years. The DAA-0048-2015-0003 plan proposes to destroy American historical records that belong to me.”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The necessary measure of protection for government documents and records is provided by 18 U.S.C. § 2071. Section 2071(a) contains a broad prohibition against destruction of government records or attempts to destroy such records. This section provides that whoever: willfully and unlawfully; conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates or destroys; or attempts to conceal, remove, mutilate, obliterate or destroy; or carries away with intent to conceal, remove, mutilate, obliterate or destroy; any record, proceeding, map, book, paper, document or other thing deposited in any public office may be punished by imprisonment for three years, a $2, 000 fine, or both.

    https://www.justice.gov/jm/criminal-resource-manual-1663-protection-government-property-protection-public-records-and

    Like

  3. “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”–George Santayana, The Life of Reason, 1905. From the series Great Ideas of Western Man.

    https://www.iep.utm.edu/santayan/

    If important records are destroyed, so are memories and context for future generations. Since a lot of the targeted records encompass range conditions and management decisions it is fair to acknowledge these cannot ever be duplicated. Any destruction should thus be independently vetted ahead of time with an eye to future value.

    Like

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