Emails about temporary suspension of EPA contract and grant awards

Joshua Eaton filed this request with the Environmental Protection Agency of the United States of America.

It is a clone of this request.



From: Joshua Eaton

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:

Any and all emails — sent between Jan. 20, 2017, and the date your office processes this request, inclusive — notifying employees of a temporary suspension of EPA contract and grant awards. Please include full header information; the to, from, cc, and bcc fields; subsequent email forwards; and replies to the emails.

I also request expedited processing. The requested records are urgently needed to inform the public about actual or perceived government activities — namely, a temporary suspension of EPA contract and grant awards that has reportedly been implemented by the incoming presidential administration. The news value of the requested records will be lost without expedited processing.

I am a full-time, professional news reporter whose work regularly appears at The Christian Science Monitor, WGBH News, Teen Vogue, and other outlets. This request is part of the newsgathering process. The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by email attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.

Joshua Eaton


This message is to confirm your request submission to the FOIAonline application: View Request. Request information is as follows: (
* Tracking Number: EPA-HQ-2017-003210
* Requester Name: Joshua Eaton
* Date Submitted: 01/25/2017
* Request Status: Submitted
* Description: Requesting any all emails — sent between Jan. 20, 2017, and the date your office processes this request, inclusive — notifying employees of a temporary suspension of EPA contract and grant awards.

From: Sandfoss, Kristina

Good Morning Mr. Eaton,

This email is in response to the communications below that were recently forwarded to me. Without the FOIA Request Tracking Number clearly provided in each of follow-up correspondence, any inquiry regarding an open FOIA that is sent to the National FOIA Office cannot be processed. With the inclusion of the Request Number in your most recent inquiry, the FOIA Office was able to identify my office as the point of contact.

I’ve attached the correspondence our Office of General Counsel sent to your provided email address on February 23, 2017 requesting clarification on your request. Contact information was provided to you at that time, and you were advised to reach out to Becky Dolph, either by phone or by email. We were in the process of closing this request out for failure to respond, but we are responding to other FOIAs requesting “1) Any memo, email or other document issued from 1/1/2017 to the present from any of the temporary employees who joined the Agency as part of what is referred to as the "beachhead team" directing EPA staff to freeze or otherwise suspend all contracts and grants and 2) Any subsequent memo, email or other document issued to staff to effectuate any direction from the beachhead team directing EPA staff to freeze or otherwise suspend all contracts and grants. This portion of the request is limited to the memo, email or other document issued by the most senior career staff member of EPA either in the Office of the Administrator or the Office of Administration and Resources Management; you do not seek memos, emails, or other documents further disseminating this information throughout the Agency.”

We will treat your request as clarified to seek that information if you so choose, otherwise you would need to submit a new request with more specific parameters.

Please let me know if you have any questions, I can be reached at 202-564-7177 or

Thank you for your interest in the EPA and have a wonderful day!

From: Joshua Eaton

Dear Ms. Sandfoss,

I just left you a voicemail but wanted to follow up over email, as well. It appears that there was some mix up with the MuckRock email addresses and Ms. Dolph's Feb. 23, 2017, went to another requester. I never received it. See here:

On Jan. 24, The Washington Post reported that the Trump administration had ordered EPA to temporarily freeze all grants and contracts (see Here's details from that report:

"An email went out to employees in the agency’s Office of Acquisition Management within hours of President Trump’s swearing-in on Friday.

'New EPA administration has asked that all contract and grant awards be temporarily suspended, effective immediately,' read the email, which was shared with The Washington Post. 'Until we receive further clarification, which we hope to have soon, please construe this to include task orders and work assignments.'"

I am requesting a copy of this email, which was reportedly sent out to employees in the Office of Acquisition Management on Jan. 20.

Does that help clarify what I'm looking for?

Thank you for your time and help.

Joshua Eaton

From: Sandfoss, Kristina

Good Afternoon Joshua,

There was an issue but hopefully it’s been corrected. The clarification is helpful and we are processing your request. I am confident you will be receiving a response in the next week or two.

Thanks and have a great day!

From: Joshua Eaton

Great, many thanks!


From: Joshua Eaton

Dear Kristina,

I believe EPA may have sent its final response to this request to another requester inadvertently. Please see here:

Would you mind re-sending this response to this email address? Many thanks!


From: Sandfoss, Kristina

Hi Joshua,

Here is the information that should have been released to you through FOIA OnLine. FOIA OnLine has your information and request associated with tracking # ending in 003210 rather than 003208. Apologies for the miscommunications, I will follow up with our FOIA Office to correct this on our end.

Thank you and have a good day!

From: Joshua Eaton


Thanks so much for your help with this request! I really appreciate it.

Joshua Eaton