Chairmen Hastings and Bishop Follow-up Letter to Secretary Salazar on Proposed Withdrawal of Energy Development in Northern Arizona

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 17, 2012 -

Dear Secretary Salazar:

On May 23, 2012, a letter was sent requesting documents concerning the Department of the Interior’s (“Department”) decision to withdraw 1 million acres in northern Arizona from new uranium mining claims and copies of 399 pages concerning communications between the Superintendent of the Grand Canyon National Park and outside groups that had been previously withheld under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”). To date, the Department has provided only 14 of the previously withheld FOIA documents concerning the Superintendent’s communications as well as additional, nonresponsive documents about mining claims in Arizona and public comments on the withdrawal decision that have previously been disclosed to FOIA requesters.

As explained in the May 23 request, the Freedom of Information Act prohibits the withholding of information from Congress. The Department’s June 8, 2012 response inexplicably expressed uncertainty about the information being requested but did not offer any recognized legal basis for continuing to withhold this information. The May 23 request was clear in describing the information being sought – the Superintendent communications previously withheld under FOIA – and it is expected that the Department will fully comply with the request for these documents.

Read the entire letter HERE.