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About the Task Force Records

What's Here and How it Got Here
On March 25, 2002, as a result of an NRDC lawsuit, the U.S. Department of Energy provided NRDC approximately 10,000 pages of documents relating to Vice President Cheney's National Energy Policy Development Group, more commonly called the energy task force. In April and May the department turned over an additional 3,500 pages. (The department also continued to send some additional pages in June and July.) Among these documents are meeting notes, daily schedules of Energy Department officials and correspondence with and policy recommendations from outside parties.

The Energy Department provided NRDC with paper documents. NRDC immediately began to review and analyze the records while also reproducing them for the Internet in order to make them available to the public. First the originals were scanned and saved as electronic files. Then they were converted to searchable text using Optical Character Recognition software, or OCR. In order to preserve the original appearance of the documents, both the scanned picture of each page and the text produced by the OCR software were embedded in the final files.

How the Documents are Organized
Before turning over the documents the Energy Department added Bates numbers -- the large numbers that appear on each page, usually in the lower right corner. The Bates numbers range from 1 to 30,017 but large gaps exist throughout the series -- the Energy Department withheld more than 16,000 pages.

NRDC grouped the documents into batches, generally around 25 pages each, in order to make them easier to review online. We grouped multiple documents together so there would be fewer files to search through and download; we kept the page counts down so the files wouldn't be unwieldy, especially for people using older computers and slower Internet connections.

The sequence of the documents in batches 1 through 402 follows the sequence of the DOE's Bates numbers, though as noted above many pages are missing. Documents in batches numbered 1000 and above appear in the order they were submitted to NRDC by the DOE.

NRDC has not grouped like documents together except in following DOE's sequence. And while we made an effort not to break up related pages, for example a cover letter and its attachments, because of the volume of documents, our commitment to making them public quickly, and user-convenience considerations, we have likely done so in some cases.

What's Missing
The Energy Department withheld more than 16,000 pages of the task force records. In addition, many of the documents provided have been heavily redacted (censored). NRDC continues to fight in court to obtain the remaining documents that we, and you, are legally entitled to see. Click here for the DOE's "Vaugh index," provided under court order, which lists the documents the department withheld.

Some of the documents the DOE provided in print are already available on the Web (including an NRDC report). Those documents and their Web addresses are listed under Other Web Documents on the View Documents page.

Search Tips
Begin your search by using the website's Search the Cheney Energy Task Force Records box to locate documents that contain particular words or phrases. Your search will pull up one or more "batch files"; each batch file consists of several pages bundled together. (A batch might be one 25-page document, one-third of a 75-page document, or several short documents, such as email messages.)

You can also review the batch files by linking to them from the View Records page.

Within each PDF batch file, use Adobe Acrobat's Find feature (click the binoculars or choose the Edit menu) to locate your search word or phrase. Use Find Again (right-click or choose the Edit menu) to continue to search for your word or phrase in that batch file. Click here for more Adobe Acrobat tips.

Once you've brought up a batch file, to move to another batch file by number without returning to the View Records index page, use your mouse to change the number at the far right of your browser's location window (and to the left of the .pdf extension).

Instead of using very common (in this context) words such as "energy" or "oil," which will bring up dozens or hundreds of batches, refine your search to more specific terms.

The search tools may fail to recognize certain words in certain documents, even though they're present, as a result of mistakes that occur during the conversion process from printed page to electronic file (see why just below). If a term you expect to be successful fails to bring results, try modifying it. One modification is to add or remove spaces. For example, instead of searching for Yucca Mountain search for YuccaMountain. Other things to try: remove the last letter of a word; shorten a string of words to fewer (if American Petroleum Institute doesn't work, try Petroleum Institute or American Petroleum).

OCR software essentially takes pictures of characters and turns them into the characters themselves. The degree to which OCR software can correctly identify these pictures/characters depends on a number of factors, especially the quality of both the original document and the scan of that document. The energy task force records NRDC received are mainly photocopies and not high-quality originals, which means some loss of character recognition is to be expected. Additional loss of recognition is a result of scanning at moderate instead of highest quality, which is necessary to keep file sizes from becoming prohibitive online.

Note also that the OCR software doesn't recognize words that run vertically on a page, so text on landscape pages that have been rotated within a document, or captions or tables that have been rotated within a page, won't be searchable. (Searchability within 10 batches in particular was sacrificed in order to reduce file sizes substantially. These batches range in number between 22 and 99 and are indicated with an asterisk on the View Records index page.)

Search the Cheney Energy Task Force Records
 
Many files are between 1 and 3 megabytes in size.
File sizes are indicated on the search results page.

Acrobat Tips

VIEWING PDF'S

To adjust the magnification, click the Actual Size, Fit in Window, and Fit Width buttons at the right of the top tool bar (they look like pages), or use the magnification pull-down menu on the bottom tool bar. Use the First Page, Previous Page, Next Page, and Last Page navigation arrows on either the top or bottom tool bar to get around. The bottom tool bar also displays which page you are viewing within the document and lets you jump to a particular page.


FINDING TEXT IN PDF'S

To find a word:
  1. Click the Find button , or choose Edit > Find.
  2. Enter the text to find in the text box.
  3. Select search options if necessary
    • Match Whole Word
    • Match Case
    • Find Backwards
  4. Click Find. Acrobat Reader finds the first occurrence of the word.
To find the next occurrence of the word
  • Choose Edit > Find Again, or
  • Reopen the Find dialog box and click Find Again, or
  • Right-click and click Find Again


COPYING AND PASTING TEXT INTO ANOTHER APPLICATION

Select the text select tool (the capital T), and do one of the following:
  1. To select a line of text, select the first letter of the sentence or phrase and drag to the last letter.
  2. To select all the text on the page, choose Edit > Select All. (The Select All command will not select all the text in the document.) In Single Page mode, all the text on the current page is selected. In Continuous or Continuous-Facing mode, most of the text in the document is selected. When you release the mouse button, the selected text is highlighted. To deselect the text and start over, click anywhere outside the selected text.
  3. Right-click, then click Copy to copy the selected text.
  4. To view the text, choose Window > Show Clipboard; you may also open a window in your word processor, right-click, then click Paste.

Contents | Search Records | View Records | More Info About the Records


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