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News Archive

Department of Commerce Draft Environmental Justice Strategy

On August 4, 2011, the Department of Commerce and other Federal agencies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to develop or revise existing environmental justice (EJ) strategies to protect minority and low-income populations from experiencing disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects caused by an agency’s programs, policies, and activities. 

In compliance with this commitment, the Department of Commerce is releasing for public comment a draft EJ Strategy, which will completely replace the Department’s original EJ Strategy produced in 1995 in response to Executive Order 12898 section 1-103.  Through November 30, 2011, the Department welcomes any comments or feedback on this draft EJ Strategy.  In addition, the Department is soliciting feedback on the following specific topics:

  • Are there additional Departmental programs, policies, or activities that should be included in the EJ Strategy in addition to those already identified?
  • What should the Department’s environmental justice goals and objectives be in relation to providing and supporting climate science, services and adaptation?

When providing feedback, please put “EJ” or “environmental justice” in the subject line.

Commerce Preliminary Plan for Retrospective Analysis of Existing Rules

On January 18, 2011, in Executive Order 13563, the President directed each agency to review their "existing significant regulations, and consider how best to promote retrospective analysis of rules that may be outmoded, ineffective, insufficient, or excessively burdensome, and to modify, streamline, expand, or repeal them in accordance with what has been learned."

In response to this directive, Commerce created and released a preliminary plan for review of its regulations on May 26, 2011.

Commerce welcomes the public's comments and feedback on this preliminary plan.  Please send your comments to open@doc.gov with "EO 13563 retrospective plan" in the subject line of the email.  We will accept comments until midnight on July 25th.

Commerce Regulatory Compliance Plan

On January 18, 2011, President Obama issued a Memorandum for all Executive Departments and Agencies on Regulatory Compliance.  The Memorandum requires all agencies with regulatory compliance and administrative enforcement responsibilities to develop plans to make information related to regulatory compliance and enforcement activities accessible, downloadable and searchable online. 

The Department of Commerce’s twelve operating units and the Office of the Secretary are all involved in the regulatory process.  Three of these operating units are involved in compliance and enforcement activities:   the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), a Line Office within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS); and the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).  Commerce is committed to making its compliance and enforcement information transparent and readily available to the public.

To read the full Commerce Regulatory Compliance Plan, read the attached PDF.

Evaluating Commerce's Open Government Plan Version 1.1

The Commerce Open Government team was recently asked to assess just how well we answered the core questions of the Open Government Directive with the Open Government Plan we released earlier this month.
The table below establishes “grades” for each of the major components of our Open Government Plan and the overall result.  These grades were decided by looking at the 30 distinct questions/requirements laid out in the Directive itself and determining whether our plan fully satisfied (Green), partially satisfied (Yellow) or failed to address (Red).  You can see the full-evaluation by clicking the “Read More” link below.

Overall, we think the Commerce Department, like most other Federal Agencies tasked with responding, has partially satisfied the requirements for the Open Government plans and we're working quickly to address those parts that aren't quite there or could be better. You will notice that we have the previous and current versions on our Open Gov Web site.  We are doing this to allow public viewing of where we started leading to where we are now.  Our previous versions are under the Open Gov Plan history area.  We'll continue to make changes, as soon as they're completed, we'll put them up on this site and make sure you know about them.  Please use the feedback section to give us your comments on the plan.

While we would have liked to be green in all areas and fully satisfied every requirement for our Open Government Plan, we know the plan we publish is a living document this is version 1.1 release it has some updates to the previous version.  As we move forward we are working with all of our partners in both internal Commerce Bureaus and external partners to ensure the Commerce Plan grows and meets the public needs for information sharing.

Overall Grades for Commerce Open Government Plan

Formulating the Plan in the Open

Green

Transparency Component

Yellow

Participation Component

Green

Collaboration Component

Yellow

Flagship Initiatives Component

Yellow

Overall Rating

Yellow

Click "Read More" below to see our complete evaluation.

Evaluating Commerce's Open Government Plan, version 1.0

The Commerce Open Government team was recently asked to assess just how well we answered the core questions of the Open Government Directive with the Open Government Plan we released earlier this month.

The table below establishes “grades” for each of the major components of our Open Government Plan and the overall result.  These grades were decided by looking at the 30 distinct questions/requirements laid out in the Directive itself and determining whether our plan fully satisfied (Green), partially satisfied (Yellow) or failed to address (Red).  You can see the full-evaluation by clicking the “Read More” link below.

Overall, we think the Commerce Department, like most other Federal Agencies tasked with responding, has partially satisfied the requirements for the Open Government plans and we're working quickly to address those parts that aren't quite there or could be better.  We'll make these changes over the next few weeks and, as soon as they're completed, we'll put them up on this site and make sure you know about them.

While we would have liked to have fully satisfied every requirement for our Open Government Plan from the start (like our friends at HHS, DOT and NASA), we also knew the plan we published on April 7 was a 1.0 release.  In the weeks ahead, we'll do everything we can to make the report we were proud to unveil earlier this month an even stronger.

Overall Grades for Commerce Open Government Plan

Formulating the Plan in the Open

Green

Transparency Component

Yellow

Participation Component

Green

Collaboration Component

Yellow

Flagship Initiatives Component

Yellow

Overall Rating

Yellow

Click "Read More" below to see our complete evaluation.

Secretary Gary Locke: Our Open Government Plan

Categories:

One of the most troubling things I’ve noticed in politics over the last few years has been the American public's growing disconnect from its government.

It’s understandable. Too often, all they hear is the usual noise – who’s up, who’s down, who’s in, who’s out. That’s what gets covered. That’s what makes headlines.

For Americans, business as usual in Washington has reinforced the belief that the government benefits the special interests and the well-connected at the expense of the American people. They seek information that can be difficult to find and see taxpayer dollars disappearing without a trace and lobbyists wielding undue influence.

Since the day he entered office, President Obama has been determined to change the old ways of Washington.

As part of that effort, he’s made an unprecedented commitment to opening the government to the people it serves. These initiatives will have a lasting impact, permanently breaking down barriers between the American people and the government they pay for.

Today, federal departments and agencies are putting forward concrete plans for making operations and data more transparent, and expanding opportunities for citizen participation, collaboration, and oversight. These steps will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness across the government.

I’m tremendously proud of the work the Open Government Team has put into creating this first iteration of the Commerce Department’s Open Government Plan. It establishes clear goals and benchmarks for success, and lays the foundation for continued work on increasing openness, participation and collaboration at Commerce in the months and years to come.

But open government is not the work of any single office.

The entire Obama administration is moving forward to translate the values of openness into lasting improvements in the way government makes decisions, solves problems and addresses national challenges. It’s a commitment we all share, one that will deepen the American people’s understanding of how their institutions work and their tax dollars are spent.

Gary Locke is the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce

Commerce's Open Government Plan (April 2010) Posted

The Open Government Team just posted the Department of Commerce's Open Government Plan (April 2010)

You can read, comment on sections and download a complete version of the plan on the Plan's page now.

Have more ideas for how Commerce can be even more open, transparent, and participatory?  Don't worry, this plan is just the start.  We're looking forward to reporting back on our progress and working with you on developing new goals and ideas for Open Government in the weeks and months ahead.

Connect with Commerce

In order to encourage transparency, participation, and collaboration in government, it is time that Commerce comes to you on some of your favorite social media and information-sharing sites. As part of the Open Government initative, you can now connect with the U.S. Department of Commerce on YouTube,  Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace .

YouTube IconFacebook IconTwitter IconMySpace Icon


We know that you may not be able to visit Commerce.gov/open everyday, so we wanted to provide some alternative ways for you to keep up to date with the latest news and initiatives from the Department of Commerce that ultimately affect you and your community.

While we know our new presences on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and MySpace need a bit of work (OK, our MySpace presence needs a lot of work), we wanted to let you know about them ASAP so you could share your thoughts about how to use them most effectively going forward. Have a great idea for a YouTube-based video contest or a Commerce Facebook App?  Post it in the comments section below.

Whether it is photos on Facebook, live-tweets from an event on Twitter, discussions on MySpace, or video updates from Secretary Locke on Youtube, we hope to offer a fun way to follow what's new at Commerce and join the conversation. Invite your friends on Facebook or MySpace and your followers on Twitter to join as well.

Finally, let us know by posting a comment if there are other information-sharing and social media sites that you would like to use to connect with Commerce.

Welcome to Commerce.gov/open

Thanks for stopping by our brand new site on Open Government at the U.S. Department of Commerce, Commerce.gov/open.

This website, launched in response to the President's Open Government Directive, aims to document the U.S. Department of Commerce's efforts to become more open, participatory and collaborative in engaging U.S. citizens.

You can use it to find out about the data sets we're posting on Data.gov, learn how to make a FOIA request, or take a look at the latest draft of our Open Government Plan (coming soon!).

Most important, we want to use this site to interact with you. In addition to leaving comments on any news item on this site or e-mailing us at open@doc.gov, we also encourage you to use our citizen engagement tool, OpenCommerce.IdeaScale.com, to contribute your thoughts and ideas concerning our Open Government Plan.

With your help, we can make sure that Commerce's plan for Open Government is one of the most comprehensive and creative plans produced by a government agency.