EDGI’s Capacity and Governance working group monitors changes to federal agency governance, budgets, enforcement, scientific research, and rulemaking capacity. We work on environmental, energy, and climate policy and regulation, focusing on changes in agency’s governance of scientific information and data. We also pay special attention to the processes and operational mechanisms used by agencies and their employees in making and modifying regulations and in communicating with the courts, other agencies, and the White House.
Bridging Academic Analysis and Advocacy
The Capacity and Governance working group makes use of EDGI members’ broad expertise to develop analyses of developments in both agency capacity and data and information governance. Our team, of researchers, non-profit employees, and legal and scientific experts, takes on both rapid responses to changes in governance and pressing political events as well as longer-term research projects on the role of data and information governance in evidence-based decision making.
Our output is structured into public response campaigns, which include press releases, white papers, agency public comments, letters to Congress, and FOIA requests. In addition to our own research, we aggregate information from the monitoring work being done across EDGI’s Agency Interviewing, Website Monitoring, and Data Archiving working groups, and we coordinate with advocacy groups, the press, and Congressional staffs to communicate our message to Congress and the public.
Making Use of Freedom of Information Act Requests
The Capacity and Governance working group has also developed several Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) campaigns to (1) determine the reasons for observed changes to content and information access on public-facing government websites, (2) gather information about changes to environmental agencies and their work, and (3) collect information regarding agencies’ data collection, access, and maintenance practices. We coordinate our FOIA campaigns with other environmental FOIA and government transparency efforts.
Specifically, our team has developed a partnership with MuckRock, a non-profit that has established a platform for filing, responding to, and tracking FOIA requests, and other major environmental groups to launch the Environmental FOIA Working Group. Together, we are working to develop software tools to enable easily sharing FOIA findings and resources.