In a rare relaxation of mounting restrictions on disclosure of government information, the Labor Department has agreed to reverse its policy of withholding notes taken by mine safety inspectors from prompt release under the Freedom of Information Act.
“This unwarranted secrecy may protect the mining industry from embarrassing disclosures, but it undermines accountability and mine safety,” Rep. Waxman wrote.
On January 20, three House Republicans, including Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), the new House Majority Leader, wrote to Labor Secretary Elaine Chao to make the same request.
“We share the concern expressed by some that … this blanket policy has had the effect of denying important information about mine safety to the public.”
In a January 30 reply to Majority Leader Boehner, a Labor Department official wrote that the disclosure policy would be revised to permit release of mine inspector notes “effective immediately.”
Rep. Boehner applauded the move. “Our request to Secretary Chao was made for one simple reason: to get more information, more quickly into the hands of Congress, the families impacted by the tragedies, and all those with a stake in mining and these investigations,” he said.
In a January 31 news release, Rep. Boehner and his colleagues took credit for the step. See “In Response to House Republican Request, Labor Department Makes Key Policy Change Impacting Mine Investigations”.
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The FAS Nuclear Notebook is one of the most widely sourced reference materials worldwide for reliable information about the status of nuclear weapons and has been published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists since 1987. The Nuclear Notebook is researched and written by the staff of the Federation of American Scientists’ Nuclear Information Project: Director Hans […]
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