This West Is OUR West

Elaine Willman Comments re: FOIA Proposed Rule

Agency: Department of the Interior (DOI)

Document Type: Rulemaking

Title: Freedom of Information Act

Document ID: DOI_FRDOC_0001-0094


Name: Elaine Willman


1. Docket No. DOI-2018-0017, published in the Federal Register on December 28, 2018 was published during the Government Shutdown. It was unavailable online to the public, with an upcoming deadline of January 28th.

2. The Federal Register was not distributed online from December 22nd through January 2nd.

3. The DOI website is essentially inoperable due to the Shutdown and contained: 1) No Press Release regarding this Proposed Rule; 2) The Proposed Rule is not available on the DOI website, and extremely difficult to locate anywhere else online.

4. To further inform themselves, the general public has no opportunity during the Shutdown to make contact with federal staff online, by phone or in writing. The Shutdown is dramatically impeding any legitimate ability of the public to understand the implications of this Proposed Rule.

4. The Proposed Rule identifies a multiplicity of Sections of 43 CFR Part 2 being amended, modified or rescinded and is vague as to how each change affects 43 CFR Part 2.

5. The former Secretary of Interior filed this Proposed rule as he was departing his term, leaving the Acting DOI Secretary to process, and providing any incoming DOI Secretary affirmed by the Senate in the future to have no opportunity to evaluate this Proposed Rule after the Government Shutdown is over, and after his/her confirmation by the Senate.

6. The Proposed Rule does not adequately affirm that such rule revisions are necessary, consistent with other federal agency practices, and/or that changes are consistent with existing OMB oversight and compliance

RECOMMENDATION: The Proposed Rule was published during the Shutdown time period, dramatically impeding the awareness of the rule by the public, and their ability to properly and timely comment. The Proposed Rule identified in Docket No. DOI-2018-0017 should be, at a minimum, SUSPENDED, and more legitimately, WITHDRAWN until the following: 1) The Government Shutdown is over and the DOI agency is fully operational and available to the public; and 2) the Senate has confirmed the incoming Secretary of Interior; or 3) both # 1 and #2 herein.