Interior to publish Zinke's calendars weekly

Interior to publish Zinke's calendars weekly
© Greg Nash

The Interior Department is planning to post Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeOvernight Energy: Gillibrand offers bill to ban pesticide from school lunches | Interior secretary met tribal lawyer tied to Zinke casino dispute | Critics say EPA rule could reintroduce asbestos use Interior secretary met with tribal lawyer attached to Zinke casino dispute Zinke joins board of small gold mining company MORE’s calendars regularly on the department’s website.

The first weekly calendar was published Friday afternoon, with a summary of what Zinke did July 28 through Aug. 3, which was the past week.

It shows that Zinke filmed a video July 28 in Wisconsin to mark National Shooting Sports Month, met with representatives of the Southern Ute Tribe July 31 and called or met with lawmakers Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Rep. Andy HarrisAndrew (Andy) Peter HarrisSeven Republicans vote against naming post office after ex-Rep. Louise Slaughter House passes bill expressing support for NATO Activist who met with GOP lawmakers also promotes ‘black violence’ gene: report MORE (R-Md.) and Rep. Steve Knight (R-Calif.) Aug. 1.

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The department plans to make similar posts each week when possible.

“We are always looking for ways to increase transparency and communication with the press and public,” Interior spokeswoman Heather Swift said in a statement. “Posting to the website what the secretary did that week accomplishes both of those goals.”

Interior already makes proactive disclosures about certain information, including releasing travel records for Zinke every few months.

But some environmental groups have accused Zinke of running an overly opaque department.

Earthjustice, the Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth filed a lawsuit in June saying that Interior didn’t produce records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) within the allowed time.

The records themselves concerned Interior’s own FOIA policies and procedures, including review by political appointees before some documents regarding Zinke can be released.