Plain Writing

Our promise to you: writing you can understand

We at the Department of the Interior are committed to writing all of our new documents in plain language by October 2011. 

Our goal is to use plain language in any document that:

  • Is necessary for obtaining any of our benefits or services or for filing taxes;
  • Provides information about any of our benefits or services; or
  • Explains how to comply with a requirement that we administer or enforce.

Here's what Interior's Associate Deputy Secretary had to say about Plain Writing in a 2011 memo.

Why we make this promise

While we’ve been believers in plain language for a long time, the Plain Writing Act of 2010 requires all federal agencies to write "clear government communication that the public can understand and use."  President Obama also emphasized the importance of "transparency, public participation, and collaboration" in his January 21, 2009, Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government.

Let us know how we’re doing

You can help us to meet our plain language goals by letting us know when we fall short.  If you have trouble understanding any of our documents or any material on our Web site, please contact Amanda Burley at or 202-208-3181.

Click here to see our plain writing implementation plan.