by Ginger Fedak as posted on IDAUSA.org
We must speak up now to help protect the wild horses and burros of America!
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!
What YOU Can Do:
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.