The National Coalition for History recently sent a letter to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) questioning the handling of records from the Department of the Interior. NCH joined with 12 other open government and transparency groups in the letter. Click here to see the letter.
Through the use of a process called records schedules, federal agencies routinely ask the National Archives for the permission to destroy unessential records and seek retention of historically valuable records.
In this case, the Department of the Interior consolidated records schedules into what is known as a “big bucket” which takes records destruction requests out of the hands of the many bureaus/offices with subject matter expertise. Our letter encouraged NARA to revisit the Department of Interior’s request as well as the process by which agencies can seek to dispose of records.
In addition, the letter asked NARA to make the actual records scheduled for destruction available online so they are open to public inspection and comment and obviate the need to file FOIA requests.