Access to BLM Conservation Website Blocked During Government Shutdown
On or around December 22, 2018, the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) blocked access to a website containing links to documents relating to proposed changes to the conservation rules for greater sage grouse habitat. Users seeking to access the website now receive a message stating:
“During the Federal government shutdown, no updates will be made to this website except in the case of an emergency. For more information, please visit https://www.doi.gov.”
Conservation groups have complained that blocking access to the website appears to violate Department of the Interior guidance which says that, during government shutdowns, websites will remain online “as permitted by their current contracts and support arrangements.” A spokesperson for the Western Watersheds Project, Eric Molvar, told reporters:
“The [Bureau of Land Management] could have simply taken no action and left the web links up for the public to access when the government shut down, but instead they took action to block the public from seeing the amendments that are proposed.”
According to Molvar, the block will affect the public’s ability to submit comments on the BLM proposal, which are due in 30 days.