Monday, August 14, 2006

Air Force withdraws funding of controversial study to limit scope of Freedom of Information Act

The U.S. Air Force has reversed an earlier decision to pay a San Antonio law school one million dollars to study ways to limit the Freedom of Information Act. USA Today reported the story in early July (here) and the decision was quickly criticized by the Detroit Free Press. Now the Air Force reports that the study was not so much research as it was a policy recommendation, and has withdrawn funding for the study.

Unfortunately, the project has already been blessed by Congress, and there is some chance it will continue. The Federation of American Scientists blog has a full story here.

Because it compels the federal government to disclose its actions, some regard the Freedom of Information Act to be our most important environmental law concerning federal lands. Like no other law, the FOIA keeps our land-management agencies honest.


Martha Burford said...

It appears that whether this study continues or not, there is already a movement by individual States to restrict the flow of information in the name of homeland security. I am curious whether there is a movement to directly challenge these restrictions? Clearly, I am exposing my lack of information about this subject, but I am hopeful that there is a group working on this issue.

Demarcated Landscapes said...

Unfortunately, there is no widespread effort to protect the FOIA, and many of the more prominent public lands organizations do not seem even to grasp how important the FOIA is to what they do.

However, there are media and newspaper organizations that are fierce defenders of the FOIA. Thank goodness for them.