@EPAScottPruitt Twitter Archive

Alexander Rony filed this request with the Environmental Protection Agency of the United States of America.
Tracking #

EPA-HQ-2018-009430

Est. Completion None
Status
Withdrawn

Communications

From: Alexander Rony

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act.

I. Background Information

Former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's last day at the agency was on Friday, July 6, 2018. That same day, the agency deactivated Pruitt's official Twitter account, @EPAScottPruitt, which was used to promote EPA work and priorities. Thus, records pertaining to official federal government functions are set to be deleted. According to Twitter, "You can restore your Twitter account if it was accidentally or wrongfully deactivated for up to 30 days after deactivation."

The Office of Public Affairs likely manages EPA administrator social media accounts. They were involved in another FOIA request on this Twitter account (https://www.muckrock.com/foi/united-states-of-america-10/scott-pruitts-blocked-followers-38939/).

II. Description of Records Sought

I hereby request the Twitter archive for the @EPAScottPruitt Twitter account under the Freedom of Information Act. You can get the archive by going to https://twitter.com/settings/account and clicking "Request your archive." Alternately, you can go to https://twitter.com/settings/your_twitter_data. In both cases, the @EPAScottPruitt account must be restored first.

III. Record Retention and Delivery

I prefer my request be filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

If you determine that portions of the records requested are exempt from disclosure, I request that you segregate the exempt portions and deliver the non-exempt portions of such records. If the EPA denies all or part of this request, please cite the specific exemptions you believe justify your refusal to release the information.

EPA must preserve all the records requested herein while this FOIA is pending or under appeal. 40 C.F.R. § 2.106 (“[r]ecords shall not be disposed of while they are the subject of a pending request, appeal, or lawsuit under the FOIA”); see Chambers v. U.S. Dep't of Interior, 568 F.3d 998, 1004 (D.C. Cir. 2009) (“an agency is not shielded from liability if it intentionally transfers or destroys a document after it has been requested under FOIA or the Privacy Act”). Accordingly, please immediately advise custodians of potentially responsive records that the above records have been requested under FOIA and therefore may not be destroyed.

If any of the requested records are destroyed, the agency and responsible officials are subject to attorney fee awards and sanctions, including fines and disciplinary action. A court held EPA in contempt for “contumacious conduct” and ordered the agency to pay plaintiff's costs and fees for destroying “potentially responsive material contained on hard drives and email backup tapes.” Landmark Legal Found. v. EPA, 272 F.Supp.2d 59, 62 (D.D.C. 2003); see also Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Dep't of Commerce, 384 F. Supp. 2d 163, 169 (D.D.C. 2005) (awarding attorneys’ fees and costs because, among other factors, agency’s “initial search was unlawful and egregiously mishandled and...likely responsive documents were destroyed and removed”), aff'd in relevant part, 470 F.3d 363, 375 (D.C. Cir. 2006) (remanding in part to recalculate attorney fees assessed). In another case, in addition to imposing a $10,000 fine and awarding attorneys’ fees and costs, the court found that an Assistant United States Attorney prematurely "destroyed records responsive to [the] FOIA request while [the FOIA] litigation was pending" and referred him to the Department of Justice's Office of Professional Responsibility. Jefferson v. Reno, 123 F. Supp. 2d 1, 6 (D.D.C. 2000).

IV. 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 meaningfully participate in the debate over the proper direction of a federal agency as it transitions to a new administrator.

The subject matter of the requested records is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations and activities of the government by retaining a record of how the head of the EPA communicated his job to the public. Social media is now recognized as a major component of how federal agencies interact with and sell their priorities to the general public. The to-be-deleted account also contains some official photos of the ex-administrator's meetings and events that were not distributed formally outside of Twitter.

The Sierra Club and its supporters have demonstrated interest and expertise in the subject area, as the organization is committed to the effective and efficient use of EPA resources in order to safeguard public health and the environment. Our staff and supporters regularly submit recommendations to the agency regarding its offices and their operations, and we have engaged many of the EPA's various accounts through Twitter.

V. 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 conducting outreach to journalists and external partners.

I have previously written about the federal hiring freeze's impact on agencies:

https://sierraclub.org/planet/2017/05/trump-admin-policies-leave-700-cdc-jobs-vacant
https://sierraclub.org/planet/2017/04/hiring-freeze-prevented-epa-filling-hundreds-jobs

This work, supplemented by Freedom of Information Act requests, was covered in major media outlets:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2017/05/19/nearly-700-vacancies-at-cdc-because-of-trump-administration-hiring-freeze/
http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/13/politics/epa-hiring-freeze/index.html

Furthermore, the Sierra Club has been quoted in many recent news articles about its Freedom of Information Act requests on EPA operations.

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.

VI. Expedited Processing

Due to the fact that Twitter deletes accounts thirty days after deactivation, I request expedited treatment of this FOIA request. The EPA's FOIA regulations (https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=6e03f1fcf8b91fe19d5ad1d462dad85c&node=40:1.0.1.1.2&rgn=div5) states that my request must fulfill one of two conditions, the second being that there is, "An urgency to inform the public about an actual or alleged Federal government activity, if the information is requested by a person primarily engaged in disseminating information to the public."

In this case, the urgency is that the government, by deactivating the Twitter account, has already began the process of deleting records of the former EPA administrator's work-related social media account. As described above, I am primarily engaged in disseminated information to the public. I certify this to be true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 10 calendar days, as the EPA's FOIA regulations require for expedited requests.

Sincerely,

Alexander Rony
Sierra Club

From: Environmental Protection Agency

This message is to confirm your request submission to the FOIAonline application: View Request. Request information is as follows: (https://www.foiaonline.gov/foiaonline/action/public/submissionDetails?trackingNumber=EPA-HQ-2018-009430&type=request)
* Tracking Number: EPA-HQ-2018-009430
* Requester Name: Alexander Rony
* Date Submitted: 07/11/2018
* Request Status: Submitted
* Description: To Whom It May Concern:
This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act.
I. Background Information
Former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's last day at the agency was on Friday, July 6, 2018. That same day, the agency deactivated Pruitt's official Twitter account, @EPAScottPruitt, which was used to promote EPA work and priorities. Thus, records pertaining to official federal government functions are set to be deleted. According to Twitter, "You can restore your Twitter account if it was accidentally or wrongfully deactivated for up to 30 days after deactivation."
The Office of Public Affairs likely manages EPA administrator social media accounts. They were involved in another FOIA request on this Twitter account (https://www.muckrock.com/foi/united-states-of-america-10/scott-pruitts-blocked-followers-38939/).
II. Description of Records Sought
I hereby request the Twitter archive for the @EPAScottPruitt Twitter account under the Freedom of Information Act. You can get the archive by going to https://twitter.com/settings/account and clicking "Request your archive." Alternately, you can go to https://twitter.com/settings/your_twitter_data. In both cases, the @EPAScottPruitt account must be restored first.
III. Record Retention and Delivery
I prefer my request be filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.
If you determine that portions of the records requested are exempt from disclosure, I request that you segregate the exempt portions and deliver the non-exempt portions of such records. If the EPA denies all or part of this request, please cite the specific exemptions you believe justify your refusal to release the information.
Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 10 calendar days, as the EPA's FOIA regulations require for expedited requests.
Sincerely,
Alexander Rony
Sierra Club

From: Alexander Rony

Please withdraw FOIA number EPA-HQ-2018-009430. The EPA released a tweet archive of the @EPAScottPruitt account yesterday. This request was put into the queue for my system to submit before then, but likely arrived after the archive was released.

Thank you,
Alexander Rony

From: Environmental Protection Agency

The FOIA request EPA-HQ-2018-009430 has had its Tracking Number changed to EPA-HQ-2018-009430. 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-2018-009430
* New Tracking Number: EPA-HQ-2018-009430
* Requester Name: Alexander Rony
* Date Submitted: 07/11/2018
* Long Description: To Whom It May Concern:
This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act.
I. Background Information
Former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's last day at the agency was on Friday, July 6, 2018. That same day, the agency deactivated Pruitt's official Twitter account, @EPAScottPruitt, which was used to promote EPA work and priorities. Thus, records pertaining to official federal government functions are set to be deleted. According to Twitter, "You can restore your Twitter account if it was accidentally or wrongfully deactivated for up to 30 days after deactivation."
The Office of Public Affairs likely manages EPA administrator social media accounts. They were involved in another FOIA request on this Twitter account (https://www.muckrock.com/foi/united-states-of-america-10/scott-pruitts-blocked-followers-38939/).
II. Description of Records Sought
I hereby request the Twitter archive for the @EPAScottPruitt Twitter account under the Freedom of Information Act. You can get the archive by going to https://twitter.com/settings/account and clicking "Request your archive." Alternately, you can go to https://twitter.com/settings/your_twitter_data. In both cases, the @EPAScottPruitt account must be restored first.
III. Record Retention and Delivery
I prefer my request be filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.
If you determine that portions of the records requested are exempt from disclosure, I request that you segregate the exempt portions and deliver the non-exempt portions of such records. If the EPA denies all or part of this request, please cite the specific exemptions you believe justify your refusal to release the information.
Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 10 calendar days, as the EPA's FOIA regulations require for expedited requests.
Sincerely,
Alexander Rony
Sierra Club

From: Environmental Protection Agency

The FOIA request - EPA-HQ-2018-009430 description has been modified. Additional details for this item are as follows:
* Tracking Number: EPA-HQ-2018-009430
* Requester: Alexander Rony
* Submitted Date: 07/11/2018
* Description: To Whom It May Concern:
This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act.
I. Background Information
Former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's last day at the agency was on Friday, July 6, 2018. That same day, the agency deactivated Pruitt's official Twitter account, @EPAScottPruitt, which was used to promote EPA work and priorities. Thus, records pertaining to official federal government functions are set to be deleted. According to Twitter, "You can restore your Twitter account if it was accidentally or wrongfully deactivated for up to 30 days after deactivation."
The Office of Public Affairs likely manages EPA administrator social media accounts. They were involved in another FOIA request on this Twitter account (https://www.muckrock.com/foi/united-states-of-america-10/scott-pruitts-blocked-followers-38939/).
II. Description of Records Sought
I hereby request the Twitter archive for the @EPAScottPruitt Twitter account under the Freedom of Information Act. You can get the archive by going to https://twitter.com/settings/account and clicking "Request your archive." Alternately, you can go to https://twitter.com/settings/your_twitter_data. In both cases, the @EPAScottPruitt account must be restored first.
III. Record Retention and Delivery
I prefer my request be filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.
If you determine that portions of the records requested are exempt from disclosure, I request that you segregate the exempt portions and deliver the non-exempt portions of such records. If the EPA denies all or part of this request, please cite the specific exemptions you believe justify your refusal to release the information.
Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 10 calendar days, as the EPA's FOIA regulations require for expedited requests.
Sincerely,
Alexander Rony
Sierra Club

From: Environmental Protection Agency

The FOIA request EPA-HQ-2018-009430 has had its Tracking Number changed to EPA-HQ-2018-009430. 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-2018-009430
* New Tracking Number: EPA-HQ-2018-009430
* Requester Name: Alexander Rony
* Date Submitted: 07/11/2018
* Long Description: To Whom It May Concern:
This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act.
I. Background Information
Former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's last day at the agency was on Friday, July 6, 2018. That same day, the agency deactivated Pruitt's official Twitter account, @EPAScottPruitt, which was used to promote EPA work and priorities. Thus, records pertaining to official federal government functions are set to be deleted. According to Twitter, "You can restore your Twitter account if it was accidentally or wrongfully deactivated for up to 30 days after deactivation."
The Office of Public Affairs likely manages EPA administrator social media accounts. They were involved in another FOIA request on this Twitter account (https://www.muckrock.com/foi/united-states-of-america-10/scott-pruitts-blocked-followers-38939/).
II. Description of Records Sought
I hereby request the Twitter archive for the @EPAScottPruitt Twitter account under the Freedom of Information Act. You can get the archive by going to https://twitter.com/settings/account and clicking "Request your archive." Alternately, you can go to https://twitter.com/settings/your_twitter_data. In both cases, the @EPAScottPruitt account must be restored first.
III. Record Retention and Delivery
I prefer my request be filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.
If you determine that portions of the records requested are exempt from disclosure, I request that you segregate the exempt portions and deliver the non-exempt portions of such records. If the EPA denies all or part of this request, please cite the specific exemptions you believe justify your refusal to release the information.
Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 10 calendar days, as the EPA's FOIA regulations require for expedited requests.
Sincerely,
Alexander Rony
Sierra Club

From: Environmental Protection Agency

See attached letter

  • FOIA -- EPA-HQ-2018-009430 Alexander Rony re Fee Waiver Grant and Expedited Processing Denial Letter

From: Environmental Protection Agency

Your request for Fee Waiver for the FOIA request EPA-HQ-2018-009430 has been fully granted. Additional details for this request are as follows:
* Request Created on: 07/11/2018
* Request Description: To Whom It May Concern:
This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act.
I. Background Information
Former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's last day at the agency was on Friday, July 6, 2018. That same day, the agency deactivated Pruitt's official Twitter account, @EPAScottPruitt, which was used to promote EPA work and priorities. Thus, records pertaining to official federal government functions are set to be deleted. According to Twitter, "You can restore your Twitter account if it was accidentally or wrongfully deactivated for up to 30 days after deactivation."
The Office of Public Affairs likely manages EPA administrator social media accounts. They were involved in another FOIA request on this Twitter account (https://www.muckrock.com/foi/united-states-of-america-10/scott-pruitts-blocked-followers-38939/).
II. Description of Records Sought
I hereby request the Twitter archive for the @EPAScottPruitt Twitter account under the Freedom of Information Act. You can get the archive by going to https://twitter.com/settings/account and clicking "Request your archive." Alternately, you can go to https://twitter.com/settings/your_twitter_data. In both cases, the @EPAScottPruitt account must be restored first.
III. Record Retention and Delivery
I prefer my request be filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.
If you determine that portions of the records requested are exempt from disclosure, I request that you segregate the exempt portions and deliver the non-exempt portions of such records. If the EPA denies all or part of this request, please cite the specific exemptions you believe justify your refusal to release the information.
Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 10 calendar days, as the EPA's FOIA regulations require for expedited requests.
Sincerely,
Alexander Rony
Sierra Club

* Fee Waiver Original Justification: 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 meaningfully participate in the debate over the proper direction of a federal agency as it transitions to a new administrator.
The subject matter of the requested records is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations and activities of the government by retaining a record of how the head of the EPA communicated his job to the public. Social media is now recognized as a major component of how federal agencies interact with and sell their priorities to the general public. The to-be-deleted account also contains some official photos of the ex-administrator's meetings and events that were not distributed formally outside of Twitter.
The Sierra Club and its supporters have demonstrated interest and expertise in the subject area, as the organization is committed to the effective and efficient use of EPA resources in order to safeguard public health and the environment. Our staff and supporters regularly submit recommendations to the agency regarding its offices and their operations, and we have engaged many of the EPA's various accounts through Twitter.

* Fee Waiver Disposition Reason: N/A

From: Environmental Protection Agency

Your request for Expedited Processing for the FOIA request EPA-HQ-2018-009430 has been denied. Additional details for this request are as follows:
* Request Created on: 07/11/2018
* Request Description: To Whom It May Concern:
This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act.
I. Background Information
Former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's last day at the agency was on Friday, July 6, 2018. That same day, the agency deactivated Pruitt's official Twitter account, @EPAScottPruitt, which was used to promote EPA work and priorities. Thus, records pertaining to official federal government functions are set to be deleted. According to Twitter, "You can restore your Twitter account if it was accidentally or wrongfully deactivated for up to 30 days after deactivation."
The Office of Public Affairs likely manages EPA administrator social media accounts. They were involved in another FOIA request on this Twitter account (https://www.muckrock.com/foi/united-states-of-america-10/scott-pruitts-blocked-followers-38939/).
II. Description of Records Sought
I hereby request the Twitter archive for the @EPAScottPruitt Twitter account under the Freedom of Information Act. You can get the archive by going to https://twitter.com/settings/account and clicking "Request your archive." Alternately, you can go to https://twitter.com/settings/your_twitter_data. In both cases, the @EPAScottPruitt account must be restored first.
III. Record Retention and Delivery
I prefer my request be filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.
If you determine that portions of the records requested are exempt from disclosure, I request that you segregate the exempt portions and deliver the non-exempt portions of such records. If the EPA denies all or part of this request, please cite the specific exemptions you believe justify your refusal to release the information.
Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 10 calendar days, as the EPA's FOIA regulations require for expedited requests.
Sincerely,
Alexander Rony
Sierra Club

* Expedited Processing Original Justification: Due to the fact that Twitter deletes accounts thirty days after deactivation, I request expedited treatment of this FOIA request. The EPA's FOIA regulations (https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=6e03f1fcf8b91fe19d5ad1d462dad85c&node=40:1.0.1.1.2&rgn=div5) states that my request must fulfill one of two conditions, the second being that there is, "An urgency to inform the public about an actual or alleged Federal government activity, if the information is requested by a person primarily engaged in disseminating information to the public."
In this case, the urgency is that the government, by deactivating the Twitter account, has already began the process of deleting records of the former EPA administrator's work-related social media account. As described above, I am primarily engaged in disseminated information to the public. I certify this to be true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief.

* Expedited Processing Disposition Reason: Request did not meet standard for expedited processing.

Files

pages

Close
  • FOIA -- EPA-HQ-2018-009430 Alexander Rony re Fee Waiver Grant and Expedited Processing Denial Letter