There are already a number of Executive Branches that are using Web 2.0 tech to reach out to the broader community of people. Ellen pointed out that the Veterans Administration is launching a serious Web 2.0 presence. NextGov reports that, along with the VA, the Environmental Protection Agency is gearing up to get into the Web 2.0 world, with the helpful push of President Obama’s memorandum on transparency:
Agencies can use blogs to improve public participation in the federal regulatory process, which dovetails with language in the Obama memo, said Lisa Schlosser, director of the Office of Information Collection at EPA. She cited the language in the memo that directed agencies to “offer Americans increased opportunities to participate in policymaking and to provide their government with the benefits of their collective expertise and information.”
The Office of Information Collection manages environmental information and also runs the governmentwide e-regulation Web site, regulations.gov. A regulatory blog could meet the spirit of Obama’s push for participatory policymaking, resulting “in more public interaction in the rule making process,” Schlosser said.
The office also manages EPA’s Freedom Of Information Act requests, and the memo, as well as Obama’s directive on FOIA, which emphasizes the use of technology to respond to information requests from the public, will require agencies to take a proactive approach to the public release of information, she said.
Schlosser is identifying FOIA requests that have a common theme and plans to use a Web site to provide that information to anyone who wants to view it, rather than providing a single response to every FOIA request.
The last paragraph provides a lot of hope that agencies will expolore new, and more open, ways of making FOIAable documents publicly available.