Executive Order 1777 - "Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda" (USDA)

Alexander Rony filed this request with the Department of Agriculture of the United States of America.
Tracking # 2017-OCIO-04749-F
Due June 29, 2017
Est. Completion None
Status
Awaiting Response

Communications

From: Alexander Rony

To Whom It May Concern:

I. Description of Records Sought

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act for the following records:

1. Evaluations, recommendations, and progress reports from the Regulatory Reform Task Force to the agency head regarding the repeal, replacement, or modification of existing regulations, pursuant to 82 C.F.R. 12285 § 3(d) and 82 C.F.R. 12285 § 3(g).
2. Emails, memoranda, presentations, official correspondence, and meeting notes from the Regulatory Reform Officer, Regulatory Reform Task Force members, and agency head regarding compliance with and execution of Executive Order 13777. Please limit your search from February 20, 2017 to the date you process this request.

II. 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 and meaningfully participate in protecting the nation's natural resources and public health.

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 the agency regulations that are likely to be evaluated and changed. Due to the broad scope of Executive Order 13777, these regulations can apply to virtually every issue that the government works on, impacting people's lives in a variety of ways.

The Sierra Club and its supporters have demonstrated interest and expertise in the subject area, specifically the development of standards designed to limit pollution, safeguard public health, improve the economy, and conserve natural resources. In addition to our staff's formal recommendations, our supporters have filed millions of public comments to agencies related to regulations that are likely to be affected by this order.

III. 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:

https://sierraclub.org/planet/2017/04/hiring-freeze-prevented-epa-filling-hundreds-jobs
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.centerforfoodsafety.org/press-releases/4480/over-700000-people-tell-government-to-block-seed-mergers

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.

IV. Exempt Records

Should you decide to invoke a FOIA exemption with regard to any of the requested records, please include in your response letter sufficient information for an appeal, including:

1. Basic factual material about each withheld item, including the originator, date, length, general subject matter, and location of each item.
2. Explanations and justifications for denial, including the identification of the category within the governing statutory provision under which the document (or portion thereof) was withheld and a full explanation of how each exemption fits the withheld material.

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.

V. Record Delivery

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

Please produce the records on a rolling basis; at no point should the search for – or deliberation concerning – certain records delay the production of others that the agency has already retrieved and elected to produce.

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,

Alexander Rony
Sierra Club

From: USDAFOIA - OCIO

Good Afternoon, Mr. Rony:

This email acknowledges receipt of your below Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Department FOIA Office (DFO). Your request was received in this office on June 2, 2017.

The DFO is under the purview of the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) and serves as the focal point for USDA’s FOIA program. The DFO provides coordination and ensures agency wide compliance with the FOIA. The DFO processes requests and appeals on behalf of the Office of the Secretary and Departmental Management’s (“DM”) components. For a complete listing of DM’s components, please visit http://www.dm.usda.gov/agencies.htm.

The FOIA regulation 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(A)(i) requires USDA to make a determination in response to a FOIA request within 20 business days from its date of receipt. In unusual circumstances, the Federal agency time limit may be extended by 10 business days as stated in 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(B). If your request seeks numerous records that will necessitate a wide-ranging search including searches with components and possible consultations with components that have a substantial interest in the determination of this request, USDA will invoke a 10 business day extension for determination of your request. You have the option to narrow the scope of your request to limit the number of potentially responsive records.

Provisions of the FOIA allow USDA to recover part of the cost of complying with your request. For purposes of fee assessment, you were categorized as an “all other” requester, pursuant to 7 CFR Appendix A to Subpart A of Part 1 Section (5)(d). For your review and information, a copy of the USDA FOIA Fee Schedule is enclosed. In accordance with 7 CFR Appendix A to Subpart A of Part 1 Section 6(a)(4), your fees shall be waived where the amount of the fee is $25.00 or less. You will be contacted before any fees over $25.00 are accrued.

A decision regarding your fee waiver request is still being adjudicated. We will provide notification as soon as possible.

A search will be conducted for records responsive to your request. If any responsive records are located, they will be reviewed for determination of releasability. Please be assured that a FOIA analyst will respond to your request as expeditiously as possible. We appreciate your patience as we proceed with your request.

Your request has been assigned FOIA Case No. 2017-OCIO-04749-F. Please refer to this case number in any future correspondence. If you have any questions regarding the processing of this request, please contact Department FOIA Team Lead, Marqui Q. Barnes at 202-694-1802 or electronically at marqui.barnes@ocio.usda.gov or USDAFOIA@ocio.usda.gov. For additional information regarding USDA FOIA regulations and process, please refer to the information available on-line at www.dm.usda.gov/foia.

We appreciate the opportunity to assist you.

Have a great day!
USDA Department FOIA Office
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From: USDAFOIA - OCIO

Good evening, Mr. Rony.

Your FOIA Request No. 2017-OCIO-04749-F currently is being processed by the Department FOIA Office. No further clarification is needed at this time. The Department will provide its response once processing is complete. Please feel free to call me for additional information. Thanks for your inquiry.
Best,
Christine Jordan
202-772-9091

From: Alexander Rony

Thanks, Christine. That was an automated followup message -- I'll turn those off.

Regards,
Alexander

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