More than 200 advisory panels for the Department of the Interior have been temporarily suspended, including the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) Review Committee. Committee meetings previously scheduled for July and August have been postponed.
Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke put all outside committees on hiatus as he reviews their charters and missions. Other impacted committees include the Bureau of Land Management’s 38 resource advisory councils, as well as the National Park System Advisory Board, National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board, and North Slope Science Initiative Technical Advisory Panel.
An Interior spokesperson said the review of “the charter and charge of each Board/Advisory Committee” is designed to “maximize feedback from these boards and ensure their compliance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act.”
The review process has halted meetings of these groups through at least September 2017. Moreover, the appointment and nomination process for the NAGPRA Review Committee has been postponed until further notice. Two nominations are currently pending: one tribal position and the at-large position. One of the museum and scientific nominated positions will become vacant in November 2017.