EXPEDITED REQUEST: NPS social media/press contact

Andrew Couts filed this request with the National Park Service of the United States of America.
Tracking # NPS-2017-00388
Status
Completed

Communications

From: Dell Cameron

To Whom It May Concern:

I am a journalist working for The Daily Dot (www.dailydot.com), an online news publication. I am requesting records under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”). 5 U.S.C.§ 552.

Additionally, I am seeking expedited processing of my request pursuant to 5 U.S.C.§ 552(a)(6)(E), as the subject of my request concerns a matter of current exigency to the American public, for reasons I will detail below.

-- REQUEST

I am seeking any and all records relating to instructions (orders, directives, memos, or communications) received by the National Park Service (“NPS”), regarding:

1) The NPS’s use of social media, including its official Twitter accounts (@BadlandsNPS, @GoldenGateNPS, @ClimateNPS, etc.)
2) Communications by NPS employees with reporters and/or other members of the news media (via phone, email, press release, or any other method.)
3) The dissemination of press releases to the public.
4) The publication of any agency NPS records, including reports or fact sheets
5) The release of NPS data through the federal government’s data.gov portal.

Additionally:
1) Please include any internal memos generated by NPS pertaining to the use of social media.
2) Please include any internal memos generated by NPS pertaining to the Freedom of Information Act.

This includes:
1) Any agency communications, including emails, text messages, and written correspondence.
2) Any physical documents, including memos, briefs and reports.
3) Any legal opinions related to the topics in the itemized lists above.

-- SEARCH PARAMETERS
1) Please limit your search to records created on or after FRIDAY, JANUARY 20, 2017, up to the date/time the search for responsive records begins. Including any records created before this time frame that have been circulated or shared among NPS employees.
2) Include any publicly available records.
3) Search for, and disclose, releasable records even if they are available publicly through other sources outside the NPS, such as the National Archives and Records Administration.
4) If any records responsive or potentially responsive to my request have been destroyed, my request includes, but is not limited to, any and all records relating or referring to the destruction of those records. This includes, but is not limited to, any and all records relating or referring to the events leading to the destruction of those records.

-- REASONING FOR EXPEDITED PROCESSING

I have requested expedited processing because I believe my request concerns a matter of widespread and exceptional media interest in which there exists possible questions about the government’s integrity which affect public confidence.

For background:

1) The Associated Press ("AP") reported on January 24, 2017 that the Trump administration has “instituted a media blackout at the Environmental Protection Agency,” among other agencies, while barring “staff from awarding any new contracts or grants, part of a broader communications clampdown within the executive branch.” [New York Times: http://nyti.ms/2jcqKLq]
2) According to AP: “Emails sent to EPA staff… also detailed specific prohibitions banning press releases, blog updates or posts to the agency’s social media accounts.”
3) According to AP: One directive from the Trump administration warned EPA employees to carefully screen incoming media requests, because “messages can be shared broadly and end up in the press.”
4) According to AP: orders similar to those received by the EPA have been “issued in recent days by the Trump administration at other federal agencies, including the departments of Transportation, Agriculture, and Interior.”
5) AP's report, if accurate, demonstrates there is a concerted effort by federal government officials to prevent the public dissemination of information from an agency funded by federal tax dollars.
6) AP's report provoked an exceptional media and public interest, as demonstrated by similar reports from the Public Broadcasting Service (http://to.pbs.org/2jtJdE3), the Boston Globe (http://bit.ly/2kpSkpB), Washington Post (http://wapo.st/2jLBwda), among at least dozens of others news outlets.

-- FEE WAIVER

As I am making this request in my capacity as member of the news media, I ask that the NPS waive all fees associated with the search, review and duplication of any responsive records.

1) I am full-time staff reporter employed by the Daily Dot, a news company headquartered in Austin, Texas, since 2013.
2) My reporting on government affairs has been recognized by:
> a) The Electronic Frontier Foundation (http://bit.ly/1zBNhHk);
> b) Reporter Eric Lipton of The New York Times (http://bit.ly/2jnW64O);
> c) Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York (http://bit.ly/2jXDf1f).
3) Additionally, I can provide a letter from my editor and my company’s CEO by request attesting to my status as full-time reporter.

-- CERTIFICATION

The above information is true and correct to the best of my knowledge.

-- FURNISHING OF ELECTRONIC RECORDS

Please furnish all responsive records in electronic format.

-- FURTHER CORRESPONDENCE

All future correspondence can be directed to me at the email address from which this request originates. Alternatively, you may contact me at the following email address: dell@dailydot.com.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me at: (469)387-1810.

Please be aware that under 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(A), a FOIA request is considered constructively denied after twenty business days and is subject to an appeal on that basis.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter.

Sincerely,

Dell Cameron

From: FOIA, NPS

Mr. Cameron,

We have received your request and have assigned it tracking number
NPS-2017-00388. All future communications should reference this tracking
number. At this time we are estimating that the fees to process your
request will not exceed our $50 threshold for charging fees, so at this
time we have determined that your fee waiver request is moot.

Your request has been put into our expedited processing track. You should
expect our response by February 22, 2017. In the meantime, please feel
free to contact me with any questions you may have regarding the processing
of your request.

Sincerely,

C.

____________________

Ms. Charis Wilson, PhD, CRM
NPS FOIA Officer
12795 W. Alameda Parkway
PO Box 25287
Denver, CO 80225-0287
303-969-2959
Fax: 303-969-2557
1-855-NPS-FOIA
npsfoia@nps.gov <charis_wilson@nps.gov>

From: Dell Cameron

I'm writing to clarify a portion of my FOIA request.

I wrote: I am seeking any and all records relating to instructions (orders, directives, memos, or communications) received by the National Park Service (“NPS”)

I am referring to instructions that originate from the White House, which may have been relayed through another federal agency. Please account for that in your search.

I very much appreciate your time.

From: FOIA, NPS

Mr. Cameron,

In accordance with 43 CFR 2.19, we are notifying you that we have
determined that we will need to extend the basic 20 workday time limit, in
order to respond to your request. This extension is needed due to the need
to search for, collect, and review potentially responsive records from
multiple locations.

We expect to issue our determination response to you by, to you by March 8,
2017. If you do not receive our response by that date, you may consider
your request administratively denied and may file an appeal. You may file
an appeal by writing to:

Freedom of Information Act Appeals Officer
Office of the Solicitor
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, NW
MS-6556-MIB,
Washington, D.C. 20240
foia.appeals@sol.doi.gov

The appeal should be marked, both on the envelope and the face of the
appeal letter, with the legend "FREEDOM OF INFORMATION APPEAL." Your appeal
should be accompanied by a copy of your original request and copies of all
correspondence between yourself and the National Park Service related to
this request. Please note appeals received after 5 p.m. EST will be
considered to have been received as of the following day.

Additionally, you have the right to limit the scope of your request so that
it may be processed within the time limit or an opportunity to arrange an
alternative time frame for processing the request. Please feel free to
contact me, both as the FOIA Liaison and the person who is processing your
request, to discuss the processing of your request.

You may also contact the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS)
at the National Archives and Records Administration to inquire about the
FOIA mediation services they offer. You can contact OGIS at:

Office of Government Information Services
National Archives and Records Administration
8601 Adelphi Road-OGIS
College Park, MD 20740-6001
ogis@nara.gov
1-877-684-6448
Fax: 202-741-5769

Sincerely,

C.

____________________

Ms. Charis Wilson, PhD, CRM
NPS FOIA Officer
12795 W. Alameda Parkway
PO Box 25287
Denver, CO 80225-0287
303-969-2959
Fax: 303-969-2557
1-855-NPS-FOIA
npsfoia@nps.gov <charis_wilson@nps.gov>

From: FOIA, NPS

Mr. Cameron,

Materials located during a search of our files for records responsive to
numerous request relating to Twitter and Social Media communications for
the period of January 20 – 23, 2017, have been placed in our FOIA library:
https://www.nps.gov/aboutus/foia/foia-frd.htm . Additional materials, that
were located by the Department of the Interior’s Office of the Secretary
have been posted on their website as well:
https://www.doi.gov/foia/os/other-records.

Please let me know if the posted information does not meet your needs. If
we do not hear from you within 20 workdays we will assume you are no longer
interested in this matter and will close the file on your request.

Should you feel that there was a procedural deficiency in this response you
have the right to appeal. You may file an appeal by writing to:

Freedom of Information Act Appeals Officer
Office of the Solicitor
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, NW
MS-6556-MIB,
Washington, D.C. 20240
foia.appeals@sol.doi.gov

Your appeal must be received no later than 30 workdays after the date of
this response. The appeal should be marked, both on the envelope and the
face of the appeal letter, with the legend "FREEDOM OF INFORMATION APPEAL."
Your appeal should be accompanied by a copy of your original request and
copies of all correspondence between yourself and the National Park Service
related to this request, along with any information you have which leads
you to believe our response to be in error. Note, any appeal received
after 5 p.m. EST will be considered to have been received on the next
business day.

Additionally, because the National Park Service creates and maintains law
enforcement records, we are required by the Department of Justice to
provide the following information, even though it may or may not apply to
your specific request. Congress excluded three discrete categories of law
enforcement and national security records from the requirements of the
FOIA. See 5 U.S.C. 552(c) (2006 & Supp. IV 2010). This response is limited
to those records that are subject to the requirements of the FOIA. This is
a standard notification that we are required to give all our requesters and
should not be taken as an indication that excluded records do, or do not,
exist.

Sincerely,

C.

____________________

Ms. Charis Wilson, PhD, CRM
NPS FOIA Officer
12795 W. Alameda Parkway
PO Box 25287
Denver, CO 80225-0287
303-969-2959
Fax: 303-969-2557
1-855-NPS-FOIA
npsfoia@nps.gov <charis_wilson@nps.gov>

From: FOIA, NPS

Mr. Cameron,

My response should have indicated you have 90 days to file an appeal, not
30 days. My apologies for any confusion.

Sincerely,

C.

____________________

Ms. Charis Wilson, PhD, CRM
NPS FOIA Officer
12795 W. Alameda Parkway
PO Box 25287
Denver, CO 80225-0287
303-969-2959
Fax: 303-969-2557
1-855-NPS-FOIA
npsfoia@nps.gov <charis_wilson@nps.gov>

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