February 25, 2022
William Holzerland, FOIA Officer
Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior
MS-7328, Main Interior Building
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240
Subject: Freedom of Information Act Request
Dear Mr. Holzerland:
This is a request under the Freedom of Information Improvement Act of 2016 (Public Law No. 114-185) submitted on behalf of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks. This request relates to a report that was or should have been prepared by the Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks around June 2021 pursuant to Secretarial Order 3398 issued on April 16, 2021.
BACKGROUND FOR THIS REQUEST
On January 20, 2021, the White House issued Executive Order (EO) 13990, entitled “Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis.” See: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/01/20/executive-order-protecting-public-health-and-environment-and-restoring-science-to-tackle-climate-crisis/. The White House also issued supplemental guidance (i.e., “Fact Sheet: List of Agency Actions for Review”) for the above EO. The guidance specifically directs the Department of the Interior (DOI) to review “Alaska; Hunting and Trapping in National Preserves,” 85 Fed. Reg. 35181 (June 9, 2020),” a final rule promulgated by the National Park Service (NPS). See Item # 13 under “Department of the Interior”: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/01/20/fact-sheet-list-of-agency-actions-for-review/.
On April 16, 202, Interior Secretary Haaland issued Secretarial Order (SO) 3398 “implementing the review of the Department of the Interior (Department) actions directed by EO 13990.”
See: https://www.doi.gov/sites/doi.gov/files/elips/documents/so-3398-508_0.pdf. The SO does not specifically mention the Alaska hunting rule. However, section 5B of the SO directs the Assistant Secretaries to file a report within 60 days “listing each Bureau’s/Office’s policies, guidance documents, rules, or regulations that may warrant further action…The report will include the Bureau’s/Office’s plan and timeline to reverse, amend or update those policies, guidance documents, rules, or regulations.” In other words, since the NPS Alaska hunting rule was specifically identified in the Fact Sheet for EO 13990, it should have been addressed in the report of the Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, pursuant to section 5B of SO 3398. Note: The 60-day deadline for filing this report would have been approximately June 15, 2021.
We believe that no processing fees are required for this request due to its simplicity.
I request the following information under the Freedom of Information Act:
1) A copy of the report that should have been prepared by the Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, on or about mid-June 2021 or any time thereafter, in response to the directive in Section 5B of SO 3398 that each Bureau list its “policies, guidance documents, rules, or regulations that may warrant further action…The report will include the Bureau’s/Office’s plan and timeline to reverse, amend or update those policies, guidance documents, rules, or regulations” as directed by EO 13990. In this case, the Fact Sheet supporting EO 13990 specifically directed DOI to review the National Park Service final rule entitled “Alaska; Hunting and Trapping in National Preserves,” 85 Fed. Reg. 35181 (June 9, 2020).”
REQUEST EXPEDITED PROCESSING
We do not request expedited processing.
REQUEST A FEE WAIVER
We do not request a fee waiver, as we believe that no processing fees are necessary due to the simplicity of this request.
I am the Chair of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks (Coalition). The Coalition is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to study, educate, speak, and act for the preservation and protection of the National Park System and mission-related programs of the National Park Service. I have no commercial interest in this request. We are seeking the above information to better understand the Department of the Interior’s response to EO 13990 and, in turn, the Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks response to section 5B of SO 3398 implementing EO 13990. Disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute to public understanding of the manner in which the Department has complied with EO 13990.
In closing, given the limited scope and nature of this request, we would appreciate a timely response. Thank you for your consideration.
Michael B. Murray, Chair
Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks
2 Massachusetts Ave NE, Unit 77436
Washington, DC 20013
Shannon Estenoz, Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, USDOI
Charis Wilson, FOIA Officer, National Park Service