EPA - Oklahoma earthquake emails

Joe Wertz filed this request with the Environmental Protection Agency of the United States of America.
Tracking # EPA-R6-2016-003375
Status
Completed

Communications

From: Joe Wertz

To Whom It May Concern:

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

A copy of all emails containing information on earthquakes or induced seismicity in Oklahoma. Please limit the search to emails sent or received between October 1, 2011 and the date this request is processed.

I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as I believe this request is in the public interest. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at MuckRock.com, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for commercial usage.

In the event that fees cannot be waived, 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 e-mail 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.

Sincerely,

Joe Wertz
Reporter, StateImpact Oklahoma
stateimpact.npr.org/oklahoma

From: foia_hq@epa.gov

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=090004d280b18af0)
* Tracking Number: EPA-HQ-2016-003375
* Requester Name: Joe Wertz
* Date Submitted: 02/02/2016
* Request Status: Submitted
* Description: Requesting a copy of all emails containing information on earthquakes or induced seismicity in Oklahoma. Please limit the search to emails sent or received between October 1, 2011 and the date this request is processed.

From: r6foia@epa.gov

The FOIA request EPA-HQ-2016-003375 has had its Tracking Number changed to EPA-R6-2016-003375. 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-2016-003375
* New Tracking Number: EPA-R6-2016-003375
* Requester Name: Joe Wertz
* Date Submitted: 02/02/2016
* Long Description: Requesting a copy of all emails containing information on earthquakes or induced seismicity in Oklahoma. Please limit the search to emails sent or received between October 1, 2011 and the date this request is processed.

From: r6foia@epa.gov

02/18/2016 09:40 AM FOIA Request: EPA-R6-2016-003375

From: r6foia@epa.gov

Your request for Fee Waiver for the FOIA request EPA-R6-2016-003375 has been denied. Additional details for this request are as follows:
* Request Created on: 02/02/2016
* Request Long Description: Requesting a copy of all emails containing information on earthquakes or induced seismicity in Oklahoma. Please limit the search to emails sent or received between October 1, 2011 and the date this request is processed.

From: Joe Wertz

re: Freedom of Information Act Appeal

This is in response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 6 fee waiver denial issued on February 18, 2016 in connection with request # R6-2016-003375.

I'm writing to appeal the decision to deny my request for a fee waiver. Disclosure of the documents I requested is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government and is not primarily in my commercial interest.

The subject of the requested records — copies of emails containing information on earthquakes or induced seismicity in Oklahoma — directly concerns government operations and activities. The EPA oversees federal rules for injection wells, which scientists in federal, state and university positions have linked to damaging and injurious earthquakes in Oklahoma and other states. EPA staff have provided technical support to state regulators and have communicated concern about increasing seismicity and made recommendations to protect underground sources of drinking water.

The disclosure of these records, requested by a credentialed journalist working for a nonprofit news organization, will contribute significantly to public understanding of the earthquake surge and the scope and nature of the risk to public health and safety. The disclosure of these emails also will contribute to the public understanding of the government operations and activities involved in monitoring, evaluating and responding to the earthquakes, and the regulated industrial activities thought to be triggering them.

Sincerely,

Joe Wertz
Reporter, StateImpact Oklahoma
stateimpact.npr.org/oklahoma

From: Environmental Protection Agency

A letter stating that the request appeal has been received and is being processed.

From: Joe Wertz

I'm writing to check on the status of my FOIA # EPA-R6-2016-003375 filed on 02/02/2016.

Sincerely,

Joe Wertz
Reporter, StateImpact Oklahoma
stateimpact.npr.org/oklahoma

From: Schwarz, Matthew

Mr. Wertz-

Please accept my apologies for the delay associated with your appeal. The person working on your appeal has left the agency and I will now be handling your appeal. Could you please give me a call at 202-564-5654 to discuss your request? I’ll need to clarify the language before we can render a decision on appeal.

Best,
Matt Schwarz

Matthew Schwarz
Attorney-Advisor
Office of General Counsel | General Law Office | Information Law Practice Group
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW (Mail Code 2377A)
Washington, DC 20460
202-564-5654

From: Joe Wertz

Matt,

Quick clarification before we talk on the phone: Are you handling the FOIA, too, or just the appeal?

Sincerely,

Joe Wertz
Reporter, StateImpact Oklahoma
stateimpact.npr.org/oklahoma

From: Schwarz, Matthew

Hi, Mr. Wertz-

I am handling the appeal only.
Best,
Matt Schwarz
202-564-5654

From: Joe Wertz

Matt,

Do you have any time available on Friday 6/10?

Joe Wertz
Reporter, StateImpact Oklahoma
stateimpact.npr.org/oklahoma

From: blair.shirley@epa.gov

EPA-HQ-2016-004114 has been processed with the following final disposition: Closed for other reasons. Please refer to the attached letter.

From: Schwarz, Matthew

Hi, Joe-

After some discussions with the office in Region 6, we determined that your request will not generate fees. An appeal determination should go out to you shortly. Accordingly, a phone conference is no longer required. As an FYI, if you are already categorized as a “news media” requester, you will not generate fees unless you ask for physical duplication of records. Even then, the first 100 pages is free.
Best,
Matt

From: Joe Wertz

Thanks for the update, Matt,

Joe Wertz
Reporter, StateImpact Oklahoma
stateimpact.npr.org/oklahoma

From: r6foia@epa.gov

From: Joe Wertz

Leticia,

I disagree EPA needs a 60-day extension to complete request EPA-R6-2016-003375.

I made the initial request in January 2016, and I have had to followup numerous times to request status updates due to EPA's non-communication regarding this request.

Further, communication from EPA in May 2016 regarding processing delays in my appeal of a denied fee waiver related to this FOIA request, indicates the delay was due to personnel issues at the agency.

I do not agree EPA needs to further delay completing this FOIA request.

Sincerely,

Joe Wertz
Reporter, StateImpact Oklahoma
stateimpact.npr.org/oklahoma

From: Rymer, Edwina

Mr. Joe Wertz,

On June 8, 2016, your appeal # EPA-HQ-2016-004114 was granted and you are eligible for a fee waiver for FOIA 003375.

From February 18, 2016 to June 8, 2016, EPA Region 6 staff were not authorized to collect, review or prepare documents for this FOIA due to your initial fee waiver denial, and during your appeal. Thus, EPA staff have had 5 working days to prepare documents for release. Now that your appeal has been decided, EPA needs time to compile all of the responsive documents.

We believe we need at least 30 days to prepare for even a partial release.

We would greatly appreciate your response to this email regarding your request.

Thank you for your consideration.
Edwina Rymer
Contract Paralegal
Groundwater/UIC Section
Office of Regional Counsel

From: Joe Wertz

Edwina,

I disagree EPA needs a 30-day extension to complete request EPA-R6-2016-003375.

I made the initial request in January 2016, and I have had to followup numerous times to request status updates due to EPA's non-communication regarding this request.

Communication from EPA in May 2016 regarding processing delays in my appeal of a denied fee waiver related to this FOIA request, indicates the delay was due to personnel issues at the agency.

U.S. law and statute do not preclude EPA from collecting, reviewing or preparing documents while fee waiver requests are being considered or while fee waiver denials are being appealed.

EPA's struggles with the above-mentioned personnel issues, intra-agency communication and FOIA processing "authorization" are unacceptable reasons to unduly stall fulfillment of this lawful request.

I do not agree EPA needs to further delay completing this FOIA request.

Sincerely,

Joe Wertz
Reporter, StateImpact Oklahoma
stateimpact.npr.org/oklahoma

From: MuckRock

Regional Freedom of Information Officer
U.S. EPA, Region 6
1445 Ross Avenue (6MD-OE)
Dallas, TX 75202-2733

June 23, 2016

Hello,

I'm writing to check on the status of my FOIA # EPA-R6-2016-003375 filed on 02/02/2016.

Sincerely,

Joe

Joe Wertz
Reporter, StateImpact Oklahoma
stateimpact.npr.org/oklahoma

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Filed via MuckRock.com
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For mailed responses, please address (see note):
MuckRock
DEPT MR 23672
411A Highland Ave
Somerville, MA 02144-2516

PLEASE NOTE: This request is not filed by a MuckRock staff member, but is being sent through MuckRock by the above in order to better track, share, and manage public records requests. Also note that improperly addressed (i.e., with the requester's name rather than "MuckRock News" and the department number) requests might be returned as undeliverable.
------

From: r6foia@epa.gov

EPA-R6-2016-003375 has been approved for an interim release.  The next release is scheduled for September 9, 2016.
Records were released to the public as a result of this request. You may retrieve these records immediately using the following link: View Records.Over the next 2 hours, these records are also being added to FOIAonline's search pages, further enabling you to retrieve these documents associated with your FOIA request at any time. (https://foiaonline.regulations.gov:443/foia/action/public/view/request?objectId=090004d280b18af0)

From: Lane, Leticia

Mr. Wertz,

You should have received an interim release email from the FOIA online system on August 16, 2016. Also, the agency program processing your FOIA request is currently reviewing additional records and should provide another interim release soon.

Thank you in advance,

Leticia Lane
U.S. EPA Region 6
Enterprise, Technology&Architecture Section (6MD-OE)
Records Liaison Officer
Records & Information Management Specialist
Region 6 Freedom of Information Act Office
Phone: (214)665-7202
Fax: (214)665-2146
lane.leticia@epa.gov

From: r6foia@epa.gov

10/20/2016 09:48 AM FOIA Request: EPA-R6-2016-003375

Mr. Wertz,
Attached you will find your FOIA (EPA-R6-2016-003375) extension letter.

From: Lane, Leticia

Mr. Wertz,

Per the Division tasked your FOIA request, you are being referred to the FOIA online system at https://foiaonline.regulations.gov/foia/action/public/home . Here you will need to search for FOIA request numbered EPA-R6-2014-003043, once you do you will find additional responsive records regarding your FOIA request.

Additionally, the Division attorney continues to review records and should provide another interim release on or before January 20, 2017.

If you have any questions, please let me know.

Thank you in advance,

Leticia Lane
U.S. EPA Region 6
Enterprise, Technology&Architecture Section (6MD-OE)
Records Liaison Officer
Records & Information Management Specialist
Region 6 Freedom of Information Act Office
Phone: (214)665-7202
lane.leticia@epa.gov

From: r6foia@epa.gov

11/21/2016 09:27 AM FOIA Request: EPA-R6-2016-003375

Mr. Wertz,
This email was sent to you:
Per the Division tasked your FOIA request, you are being referred to the FOIA online system at https://foiaonline.regulations.gov/foia/action/public/home .  Here you will need to search for FOIA request numbered EPA-R6-2014-003043, once you do you will find additional responsive records regarding your FOIA request. (https://foiaonline.regulations.gov/foia/action/public/home)

Additionally, the Division attorney continues to review records and should provide another interim release on or before January 20, 2017.

If you have any questions, please let me know.  Email me at lane.leticia@epa.gov. (mailto:lane.leticia@epa.gov)

Thank you in advance.

From: Joe Wertz

Leticia,

I look forward to the next bath of records.

Sincerely,

Joe Wertz
Reporter, StateImpact Oklahoma
stateimpact.npr.org/oklahoma

From: r6foia@epa.gov

EPA-R6-2016-003375 has been approved for an interim release.  The next target date for release of information/records for this FOIA request is February 24, 2017.
Records were released to the public as a result of this request. You may retrieve these records immediately using the following link: View Records.Over the next 2 hours, these records are also being added to FOIAonline's search pages, further enabling you to retrieve these documents associated with your FOIA request at any time. (https://foiaonline.regulations.gov:443/foia/action/public/view/request?objectId=090004d280b18af0)

From: r6foia@epa.gov

03/31/2017 12:34 PM FOIA Request: EPA-R6-2016-003375

Dear Mr. Wertz:
Please see attached letter regarding your FOIA Request: EPA-R6-2016-003375.
Sincerely,
Nancy Ho
EPA Region 6 FOIA Team

From: r6foia@epa.gov

04/05/2017 11:03 AM FOIA Request: EPA-R6-2016-003375

Dear Mr. Wertz:
The EPA Region 6 office is also referring you to related responsive records which you may view on FOIAOnline by searching for the FOIA Request number EPA-R6-2016-008159.
Sincerely,
Nancy Ho
EPA Region 6 FOIA Team

From: R6 FOIA

Dear Mr. Wertz:

May I have a contact phone number to reach you and provide you with a status update?
Thanks,
Nancy Ho
EPA Region 6 FOIA Team

From: Joe Wertz

Nancy,

405-408-4324

Sincerely,

Joe Wertz
Reporter, StateImpact Oklahoma
stateimpact.npr.org/oklahoma

From: R6 FOIA

Dear Mr. Wertz:

The next estimated completion date for the next batch of records for your FOIA request is June 16, 2017.

Sincerely,
Nancy Ho

EPA Region 6 FOIA Team

From: r6foia@epa.gov

06/28/2017 12:49 PM FOIA Request: EPA-R6-2016-003375

Dear Mr. Wertz:
Please see attached letter regarding your FOIA Request: EPA-R6-2016-003375.
Sincerely,
Nancy Ho
EPA Region 6 FOIA Team

From: r6foia@epa.gov

EPA-R6-2016-003375 has been processed with the following final disposition: Partial grant/partial denial.
Records were released to the public as a result of this request. You may retrieve these records immediately using the following link: View Records.Over the next 2 hours, these records are also being added to FOIAonline's search pages, further enabling you to retrieve these documents associated with your FOIA request at any time. (https://foiaonline.regulations.gov:443/foia/action/public/view/request?objectId=090004d280b18af0)

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