|Submitted||Aug. 31, 2017|
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To Whom It May Concern:
I. Description of Records Sought
This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act for the Risk Management Plan for the Arkema chemical facility in Crosby, TX.
I would prefer the request be filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not. If you determine that portions of a requested record are exempt from disclosure, please redact the exempt portions and provide the remainder of the record.
II. Request for Expedited Processing
Due to the exceptional circumstances currently surrounding this facility, I request expedited treatment of this FOIA request. There is a threat to lives or public safety; I am primarily engaged in disseminating information (see section IV); and there is an urgent need to inform the public concerning a government activity.
The Houston Chronicle (http://www.chron.com/news/houston-weather/hurricaneharvey/article/Chemical-plant-hit-by-Harvey-cannot-prevent-12162255.php) reported that the chemical plant is at imminent risk of catastrophe. The facility, which produces organic peroxides, had its cooling power knocked out by floodwaters, and a fire or explosion is considered inevitable. Employees and surrounding residents have been evacuated.
Richard Rowe, CEO of Arkema Inc., stated, "There is no way to prevent an explosion or fire." Officials predict that it will be six days before waters recede to the point where workers can access the chemicals and attempt to cool them down. The public urgently needs information contained in the Risk Management Plan, including the hazard assessments, emergency response program, and plans to communicate with the public in the event of disaster.
The Environmental Protection Agency requires that certain facilities containing hazardous substances submit Risk Management Plans. Agencies including the EPA are currently involved in Hurricane Harvey disaster response and will be responsible for carrying out aspects of the Risk Management Plan's emergency response program and dealing with the aftermath of any chemical fires, explosions, leaks, or emissions.
III. Request for a Fee Waiver
I respectfully request that you waive all fees in connection with this request as provided by 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(A)(iii). The Sierra Club is a national environmental nonprofit with no commercial interest in obtaining the requested information. Instead, our organization intends to analyze and disseminate the requested information free of charge so that the public can be better informed about this ongoing crisis.
The subject matter of the requested records is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations and activities of the government by disclosing when and how agencies are expected to respond to a disaster at the Arkema chemical plant. The Sierra Club and its supporters have demonstrated interest and expertise in the subject area, as the organization has made many recommendations on how to safeguard public health from toxic chemicals and industrial accidents.
We currently have staff in Texas educating the public about Hurricane Harvey's impacts and developing policies for recovering from the storm (see http://content.sierraclub.org/press-releases/2017/08/least-10-houston-area-chemical-facilities-and-oil-and-gas-refineries-have for an example).
IV. Media Requester Status
In addition to the public interest fee waiver, I ask to be properly categorized as a representative of the news media. The bulk of my professional duties at the Sierra Club entails planning and writing content about public policy, including composing mass communications to our followers, analyzing FOIA responses, and coordinating press outreach. Here are some examples that resulted from my work:
The Sierra Club has the ability and intention to disseminate the information it receives through this request. The information may be shared through emails to an audience reaching into the millions, Facebook and Twitter posts reaching tens of thousands of followers, articles on our often-visited website, and analysis provided to the media.
In the event that there are fees, please inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response.
This message is to confirm your request submission to the FOIAonline application: View Request. Request information is as follows: (https://foiaonline.regulations.gov:443/foia/action/public/view/request?objectId=090004d281572df0)
* Tracking Number: EPA-HQ-2017-011043
* Requester Name: Alexander Rony
* Date Submitted: 08/31/2017
* Request Status: Submitted
* Description: Requesting the Risk Management Plan for the Arkema chemical facility in Crosby, TX..
The FOIA request EPA-HQ-2017-011043 has had its Tracking Number changed to EPA-R6-2017-011043. This is normally due to the request being transferred to another agency (for example, EPA to Dept. of Commerce) or to a sub-agency to process it. Additional details for this request are as follows:
* Old Tracking Number: EPA-HQ-2017-011043
* New Tracking Number: EPA-R6-2017-011043
* Requester Name: Alexander Rony
* Date Submitted: 08/31/2017
* Long Description: Requesting the Risk Management Plan for the Arkema chemical facility in Crosby, TX..
09/06/2017 02:54 PM FOIA Request: EPA-R6-2017-011043
Thank you for the letter in response to my FOIA request (EPA-R6-2017-011043). It is my understanding that the release of records may be delayed due to the need to provide explanations for each redaction's exemption(s). In order to advance this urgent request, I would accept the Risk Management Plan without redaction explanations in the document itself.
09/07/2017 08:31 AM FOIA Request: EPA-R6-2017-011043
Your request for Expedited Processing for the FOIA request EPA-R6-2017-011043 has been denied. Additional details for this request are as follows:
* Request Created on: 08/31/2017
* Expedited Disposition Reason: Did not meet media criteria
* Request Long Description: Requesting the Risk Management Plan for the Arkema chemical facility in Crosby, TX..