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The BLM Promised Its Move Out West Was The Best Possible Option. A Watchdog Report Says Otherwise. By Caitlyn Kim March 6, 2020.
“If the goal behind the Bureau of Land Management’s move out west is about reform, a Congressional watchdog agency says the Department of the Interior has not used best practices to make it happen.”
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: BLM LEADER TOUTS BENEFITS OF AGENCY’S HEADQUARTERS RELOCATION TO WEST “Deputy Director for Policy and Programs William Perry Pendley recently traveled to Grand Junction, Colorado where the new Bureau of Land Management (BLM) headquarters will be located. He met with leadership across the BLM and provided details on the relocation efforts taking place. He also sat down with the Grand Junction Sentinel to discuss the importance and positive impact of the move.”
“The BLM is relocating its headquarters functions and other supporting offices to the American West. This move will benefit the public we serve as well as the bureau and our employees. Moving the people who make critical decisions about the lands and programs we manage will help provide a greater on-the-ground understanding and will also foster better partnerships with communities and organizations there.”
“The Bureau of Land Management announced in 2019 that most of its employees in Washington, D.C., will be transferred to offices in western states. We assessed the bureau’s reorganization efforts against key practices for agency reforms. The bureau established goals for the reorganization, but did not establish performance measures. We also found that the bureau’s implementation plan did not include milestones, which would help ensure that the reforms are being achieved as intended and in a timely manner. We recommended that the bureau establish outcome-oriented performance measures to assess the effectiveness of the reorganization.”
“Based on the documents we reviewed, BLM partially addressed key reform practices for using data and evidence when developing reforms. (See fig. 4.) Specifically, in a draft white paper on the relocation of BLM’s headquarters to the West, dated May 16, 2019, BLM presented data and evidence on leasing rates, demographics, and lifestyle attributes in Washington, D.C., and four western locations. The white paper generally, but not always, included sources for the data it presented. However, it did not describe a methodology for choosing a location for BLM’s new headquarters. For example, it did not explain how information would be evaluated or how BLM would rank factors to select the preferred location. The white paper also noted BLM was working with Interior’s Office of Policy, Management, and Budget to create a report that analyzes the most suitable location for a western headquarters. However, as of February 20, 2020, BLM had not provided us such a report. Other documents included some discussion of potential costs and benefits but noted that more analysis was needed to make a determination. We requested this information, but as of February 20, 2020, BLM had not provided it to us.” Page 8
A librarian searched the DOI website including their FOIA page for the white paper mentioned in the GAO report without success and has initiated a FOIA request for it.
co-published on govdoc-l and freegovinfo.info.
Today’s document of the day is actually a super trifecta of documents all having to do with COVID-19 and the US government’s preparedness (or lack thereof). It started out with a document cited in this Politico news story: Trump team failed to follow NSC’s pandemic playbook. Politico cited and included a copy of the National Security Council document “Playbook for early response to high-consequence emerging infectious disease threats and biological incidents.” The story caught my eye because it started out “The 69-page document, finished in 2016, provided a step by step list of priorities – which were then ignored by the administration.” This document was unfortunately stamped “Not for public distribution” so I couldn’t report it to GPO as a fugitive document — but I *could* save a copy to the Stanford Digital Repository (it’ll take a couple of days to process and catalog, but this link should soon be live).
BUT, the Politico story referenced a few other documents which I tracked down. I reported the FEMA and USAID documents to GPO as fugitive. The White House document was in the CGP, and PanCAP Adapted was a leaked document that the NY Times put online (I saved that one too in the Stanford Digital Repository!).
- National Biodefense Strategy. White House.
- Biological Incident Annex to the Response and Recovery Federal Interagency Operational Plans. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
- PanCAP Adapted. US Government COVID-19 Response Plan. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) (Stanford digital repository copy).
I also found and reported another document cited in one of the above documents:
- Lessons From USAID’s Ebola Response Highlight the Need for a Public Health Emergency Policy Framework. Office of Inspector General, USAID.
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) at the Library of Congress is “Congress’ think tank.” Their reports are great resources on a wide variety of issues — don’t forget to look at the footnotes for more context and legislative histories!
Some Congressperson must have been thinking about the ramifications of postponing the November elections due to the COVID-19 pandemic currently sweeping the nation (check out the NCOV2019.live site for frequently updated data from around the world) because CRS published this report just a couple of days ago:
This Sidebar reviews the legal provisions that would constrain any efforts to delay or cancel federal elections during a public health crisis or other national emergency. The first part reviews laws pertaining to presidential elections, and the second part reviews laws relevant to congressional elections.
On a side note, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced the “Vote By Mail Act of 2019” way back in january, 2019 (one of the first bills introduced in the 116th Congress!) and is now pushing a petition to get Congress to expedite the process for the November election. Please sign the petition to get your state’s Senators to co-sponsor this legislation and make it so we don’t need to postpone the November election. Elections are critical to a functioning democracy!
Got a document of the day that you’d like us to highlight? Send us an email at freegovinfo AT gmail DOT com!
Today’s document(s) of the day is via the always interesting Scout Report. It’s a digitized collection of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) judgments from NIH/NLM (National Institutes of Health/National Library of Medicine) from 1980 – 1966. A finding aid to the collection is available. “The evidence files are controlled by the various Sample, S., or IS evidence file numbers found in the Notices’s Numbers metadata field and are organized roughly by date.
This is a goldmine of historic FDA documents. The only gripe I have is that when I went to put the url into the wayback machine to preserve all the documents, I got an error message saying that the page was not available to be archived because access had been forbidden. Here’s a treasure trove of fugitive government documents not able to be collected or preserved by the FDLP. So, if you’re listening/reading NLM, please allow your digitized collections to be crawled by the Internet Archive and by libraries collecting digital government documents. Thanks!
We’ve all heard by word of mouth about products that may contain suspect ingredients, but this collection of U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) judgments from NIH/NLM (National Institutes of Health/National Library of Medicine) has the full story. The collection contains summaries of the outcomes of federal court cases against manufacturers and their products that were prosecuted under the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act for adulteration, misbranding, or faulty labeling. The notices are arranged into four categories with various date ranges: Foods and Drugs, 1908-1943; Drugs and Devices, 1940-1963; Cosmetics, 1940-1964; Foods, 1940-1966. When first approaching the collection, users may want to browse by the many provided categories such as: Defendants, Product Keywords, and Issue Dates. Each entry includes the record’s case number, collection, date issued, product keywords, and more. A detailed finding aid for the collection is also available. [DS]
via Internet Scout.
Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced today that reports from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) are now online at crsreports.congress.gov. This is HUGE news indeed because many librarians and open government advocates have been asking for this for at least 25 years.
The site is a good first step, and hopefully will only get better over time — eg I’d love to see CRS reports in multiple formats (not just PDF) and in bulk start to be distributed to FDLP libraries and LoC provide MARC records so that libraries could download the metadata and add to their local catalogs like DOE’s Office of Scientific and technical Information (OSTI) has been doing for years.
However, Daniel Schuman, one of the co-founders of everyCRSreport.com and a long-time advocate for public access to CRS reports, points out that the site has much to be desired so far:
I messed up my thread on the new CRS reports website. Bottom lines:
-They are missing THOUSANDS of reports
-They're disclosing author names
-Faceted searching appears decent (but slow)
-They have some archival reports with stable URLs, but possible implementation problem
— Daniel Schuman (@danielschuman) September 18, 2018
Many of us are hopeful that the site will continue to improve over time and that the Library of Congress will reach out to the library- and open government communities for ideas on how to make the site better for public access. Rome, and CRS reports database, were not built in a day 😉
I’m pleased to announce that, for the first time, the Library of Congress is providing Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports to the public. The reports are available online at crsreports.congress.gov. Created by experts in CRS, the reports present a legislative perspective on topics such as agriculture policy, counterterrorism operations, banking regulation, veteran’s issues and much more.
Founded over a century ago, CRS provides authoritative and confidential research and analysis for Congress’ deliberative use.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 directs the Library to also make CRS reports publicly available online. We worked closely with Congress to make sure that we had a mutual understanding of the law’s requirements and Congress’ expectations in our approach to this project.
The result is a new public website for CRS reports based on the same search functionality that Congress uses – designed to be as user friendly as possible – that allows reports to be found by common keywords. We believe the site will be intuitive for the public to use and will also be easily updated with enhancements made to the congressional site in the future.