DOI Advisory Boards Suspended or Eliminated
In May 2017, the Department of the Interior (DOI) froze the work of more than 200 advisory boards, committees, and subcommittees to enable it to review “the charter and charge of each committee.” DOI also allowed the charter of the Advisory Committee on Climate Change and Natural Resource Science to expire in June 2017. The committee was established in 2013 to offer advice on climate change to the Secretary of the Interior. Its twenty-five members included federal scientists, state experts, environmentalists, and business representatives. Its meeting scheduled for April 2017 was cancelled and the website for the committee now refers to it in the past tense.
In January 2018, a DOI spokesperson indicated that “[b]oards have restarted.” While some boards do appear to be operating, media reports suggest that many remain suspended. On January 16, 2018, the Washington Post reported that:
“[t]wo of the Bureau of Land Management’s 38 resource advisory councils (RACs) — Rocky Mountain and Southwest Colorado — had to postpone meetings scheduled for Thursday because their charters were out of date. Other panels, such as the Cape Cod National Seashore Advisory Commission, have been reinstated but are still awaiting department approval for their agendas.”
The National Park Service Advisory Board also remained suspended as of January 2018. The suspension resulted in nine of the twelve board’s members resigning out of frustration.
On March 12, 2017, BLM announced that it had renewed the charters for twenty-one Resource Advisory Councils (RACs). BLM did not, however, reveal which RACs had been renewed.