CREW filed a lawsuit against the Department of the Interior (DOI) under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) challenging the refusal of the DOI to disclose four categories of records. Read more about our lawsuit here.

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CREW requests:

  1. Copies of Secretary Ryan Zinke’s address at the American Petroleum Institute’s board of directors meeting at the Trump International Hotel – Washington, D.C. on March 23, 2017;
  2. Copies of any documents received by Secretary Zinke and/or his staff during the March 23, 2017 meeting at the Trump International Hotel – Washington, D.C.;
  3. Copies of any documents describing the attendees at the March 23, 2017 meeting at the Trump International Hotel – Washington, D.C., the agenda of the meeting, and/or any planned follow-up actions by the U.S. Department of the Interior (“DOI”); and
  4. Copies of any records documenting payments made by DOI to the Trump International Hotel – Washington, D.C., in relation to the March 23, 2017 meeting.

Unlike some other entries on Secretary Zinke’s calendar, the entry for the March 23 meeting with API’s board of directors does not include a list of individual attendees. The requested records would shed light on who Secretary Zinke met with during the meeting and what he discussed with the attendees. The records would also increase public knowledge about how DOI communicates with industry stakeholders in private about public policy. On the day of the meeting, DOI informed a federal court that it would be repealing an Obama-era rule regarding how federal royalties for fossil fuels are calculated. The next day, API issued a press release praising the decision. The requested records could inform the public how DOI communicated with API about the policy change.

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