IG Investigates Whether Interior Officials Violated Transparency Laws

July 24, 2019

"WASHINGTON — The Interior Department’s internal ethics watchdog has opened an investigation into whether top Trump appointees at the agency have violated federal open-record laws by withholding or delaying the release of public documents, emails and policy memos.

The investigation by the Interior Department’s Inspector General comes the same day as the separate introduction of a bipartisan Senate bill aimed at overhauling new public-records policies at the Environmental Protection Agency. Senators of both parties say the E.P.A.’s practices of reviewing and responding to public records requests under the Freedom of Information Act have raised “serious concerns” about its transparency.

Several public watchdog groups and lawmakers contend that the two agencies — which together oversee aspects of the nation’s environmental policies, including clean-air and clean-water rules as well as conservation of public lands — have implemented new policies that have improperly limited the public’s ability to gain access to public records revealing how those policies are made."

Coral Davenport reports for the New York Times July 23, 2019.

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