Editor's note: The following is an unedited release from the National Park Service.
The National Park Service is putting on hold the signing of the Record of Decision and the publication of the Final Rule for Dog Management at Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
The decision comes in response to requests from members of Congress to extend the waiting period for the Final Environmental Impact Statement. This pause will also allow the National Park Service to conduct a review of certain records being released in response to an ongoing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request related to the park’s Dog Management plan and rule.
To date, the National Park Service has released more than 260,000 pages of documents dating as far back as 1999 in response to the FOIA request. As part of its ongoing release of records under FOIA, in late-December 2016, the Park Service learned that a former park employee had used personal email for official communications related to the Dog Management Plan planning process. Upon learning this, the Park Service contacted the former employee and obtained his cooperation to conduct a search of his personal email accounts for agency records related to the Dog Management Plan planning process. As a result of that search, the Park Service recovered approximately 137 pages of emails that were responsive to the FOIA request. Those FOIA records will be released and posted (Tuesday) at https://www.nps.gov/goga/learn/management/dog-management-records.htm, “Records Released January, 2017”.
The Park Service will conduct an independent inquiry into whether personal email was used in a manner that is not consistent with applicable laws and policies, and if so, whether its use affected the planning and rulemaking processes. The Park Service will report the results of the internal review to the public. To help ensure an independent and impartial review, the inquiry will be conducted by National Park Service personnel who were not involved in the dog management planning process.
Further action under the National Environmental Policy Act and the rulemaking process for the Dog Management Plan will await the findings and conclusions of the independent review.