Buffalo Field Campaign files Freedom of Information Act Complaints Against the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service
Group Says the U.S. Government Unlawfully Withholding Public Records on Wild Bison
For Immediate Release:
October 10, 2019
Missoula, MT – Buffalo Field Campaign filed Freedom of Information Act complaints in U.S. District Court today against the United States Department of the Interior and the National Park Service for unlawfully withholding public records on how the agencies manage wild bison in Yellowstone National Park.
Buffalo Field Campaign’s Freedom of Information Act complaints were filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Montana. The U.S. government has 30 days to answer in court.
Buffalo Field Campaign’s complaint states the Secretary of the Interior’s office refused to release any public records in response to the group’s Freedom of Information Act request on June 20, 2018. Buffalo Field Campaign asked for public records from then Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke’s office on bison management in the Yellowstone ecosystem, and the reintroduction of bison to American Indian reservations or elsewhere.
The West Yellowstone, Montana based buffalo advocacy group also states the National Park Service has refused to answer an appeal filed in October 2018 to obtain public records from Yellowstone National Park Superintendent’s office “surrounding the size of the bison population or herds in the Yellowstone ecosystem.”
“The U.S. government is conducting operations based on an outdated environmental impact statement,” says James Holt, Buffalo Field Campaign’s Executive Director. “By the time we get an answer the law entitles us to those public records impacting the buffalo will also be out of date. Closing off public access to records of what the U.S. government is doing to the buffalo in our name is against the law.”
Attorney Daniel Snyder of the Law Offices of Charles M. Tebbutt, P.C. in Eugene, Oregon, and attorney Tim Bechtold of the Bechtold Law Firm, PLLC in Missoula, Montana, are representing Buffalo Field Campaign.
DOI FOIA Complaint (October, 10 2019).pdf
National Park Service FOIA complaint (October 10, 2019).pdf