Revealed: U.S. moves to keep endangered species discussions secret

The grizzly bear is listed as an endangered species in the US. /Photograph: Alex Bondarenko / EyeEm/Getty Images

 

In a confidential document obtained by ‘The Guardian,’ officials say releasing records could have a ‘chilling effect’ on their deliberations

By Jimmy Tobias | The Guardian

The Trump administration is moving to restrict the release of information about its decisions on endangered species, according to a confidential internal document obtained by The Guardian.

It comes as wildlife advocates and scientists accuse the government of attempting to weaken protections for wildlife, including wolves, grizzly bears and sage grouse, while boosting domestic energy production and mining in crucial animal habitat.

In a private September guidance sent to offices around the country, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, or FWS, recommended that employees with its ecological services program – which administers the Endangered Species Act – take a less transparent approach when responding to certain Freedom of Information Act requests from the public.

The guidance contains a list of records that “should be considered for withholding in full or in part” from the public, including draft versions of policies and rules; internal PowerPoint presentations and webinars; deliberative email communications and meeting notes; and others.

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