FOIA March Madness 2017 - II - Appeal logs, procedures, letters, opinions (Department of Energy)

Beryl Lipton filed this request with the Department of Energy of the United States of America.
Tracking # HQ-2017-00712-F
Status
Completed

Communications

From: Beryl Lipton

To Whom It May Concern:

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

1. Any available log of appeals submitted to this agency or the agency tasked with processing Freedom of Information Act appeals for this division. Please provide such logs for the period from January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2016. Please, if possible, include with the log the following items:
• the request number associated with the FOIA in question
• the appeal number assigned to the appeal
• the description of the subject matter addressed by the request
• the division or office of initial receipt
• the date on which the appeal was received
• the date on which the appeal was closed
• the determination or final disposition status of the appeal

2. All appeal letters and opinion letters associated with appeals for which the determination was to reverse, in whole or in part, the decision of the initial request agency. Please provide such letters for appeals closed during the period from January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2016.

3. All appeal letters and opinion letters associated with appeals for which the determination was to remand the request to the appropriate agency. Please provide such letters for appeals closed during the period from January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2016.

4. All appeal letters and opinion letters associated with appeals for which the determination was to affirm the decision of the initial agency. Please provide such letters for appeals closed during the period from January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2016.

5. Any instructive or guiding materials provided to and/or utilized by employees of this department’s Freedom of Information Act office. Please include any manuals, procedural materials, reference guides, checklists, training materials, flow charts, directives, memorandums, legal decisions, presentations, or similar material used in the process of an appeal by this office or the office tasked to process FOIA appeals for this office. Any guiding materials used for the preparation of an appeal package should be considered responsive to, though not the entirety of, this element of this request.

6. The name and contact information for the appropriate appeal authority to whom appeals for this agency should be directed. If such information exists as part of a template letter sent to requesters, provision of this document will be considered satisfactory.

Please provide responsive materials on a rolling basis.

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 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,

Beryl Lipton

From: Smith, Llewellyn

Ms. Lipton:

Attached is an interim response to your FOIA request. After review, if you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to give me a call at (202) 586-6039.

Sincerely,

Llewellyn Smith
DOE Government Information Specialist

From: Krauss, Gregory

Dear Ms. Lipton:
I'm an attorney in the Office of Hearings and Appeals at the Department of Energy. I have been assigned to process the FOIA request that you filed on March 14, 2017. My office anticipates that this request will take more than 20 working days to complete. Most likely, we will respond to your request on a rolling basis.

Before I begin, it might be helpful if we had a quick discussion so I can prioritize to meet your needs. Would you be available to talk for a few minutes? I can be reached any time today at (202) 287-1574. I could also call you if you provide a phone number. I'll be out of the office tomorrow and will be available again next week.

Sincerely,

Gregory Krauss
Attorney Advisor
U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Hearings and Appeals
gregory.krauss@hq.doe.gov
202-287-1574

From: Beryl Lipton

Hello Mr. Krauss,

Thank you so much for your note. I'm available in the office at 617-299-1832.

Thanks for your help!

Best,
Beryl

From: Krauss, Gregory

Ms. Lipton:
I’m writing to summarize our conversation on Wednesday and see if you might be available for an additional quick discussion. During our Wednesday call, you stated that you would not request the determination letters that individuals usually submit along with their appeals. In addition, you indicated that you did not have a preference in how we group materials as we release them to you.

I do have a few more questions. Would there be a good time to reach you?

Gregory Krauss
Attorney Advisor
U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Hearings and Appeals
gregory.krauss@hq.doe.gov<mailto:gregory.krauss@hq.doe.gov>
202-287-1574

From: Beryl Lipton

Hi Mr. Krauss,

Feel free to give me a call any time in the next couple of hours or tomorrow morning (I'll be out for the afternoon). The number here is 617-299-1832.

Thanks so much for your help!
Beryl

From: Krauss, Gregory

Ms. Lipton, I’m writing just to follow-up on our conversation on Tuesday. During the conversation, you indicated that with respect to the FOIA log (item #1 in your request), you are seeking a log of FOIA appeals for which the date of closure (not the filing date) was between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2016. However, you also asked for a log of FOIA appeals on classified matters that are still open, in case any FOIA case was submitted several years ago and has not yet closed.

With respect to the appeal letters (in items #2, #3 and #4 of your request) you asked for the cover e-mails or letters attaching any appeal letters. Per our earlier conversation, you are excluding from your request any determination letters that may have been attached to those e-mails or included in those appeal materials.

If you want to discuss or further clarify, please feel free to contact me. Please note that I’ll be out of the office tomorrow.

Sincerely,

Gregory Krauss
Attorney Advisor
U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Hearings and Appeals
gregory.krauss@hq.doe.gov<mailto:gregory.krauss@hq.doe.gov>
202-287-1574

From: Krauss, Gregory

Ms. Lipton:

During our conversation today, you agreed to exclude any request letters from the appeal materials that you are seeking. Also, I have one more question. In many instances, FOIA appellants send a determination along with the documents released to them. When you indicated earlier that you agreed to exclude determinations, I am assuming this means that you do not wish to receive the documents released with those determinations. Is that correct?

Please reply to confirm. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Gregory Krauss
Attorney Advisor
U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Hearings and Appeals
gregory.krauss@hq.doe.gov<mailto:gregory.krauss@hq.doe.gov>
202-287-1574

From: Beryl Lipton

Hi Greg,

I apologize for having missed your call. I'll be available in the office all day tomorrow, Wednesday, April 26.

I would also like to confirm that I did indeed agree to exclude the initial request letters associated with the appeal materials, as I understand they would require additional time to retrieve. I would also like to confirm that it won't be necessary to include any responsive materials that were released and subsequently included with the appeal. However, I would like to retrieve any available letters (which I assume, though correct me if I'm wrong, would have been provided with properly submitted appeals) sent from the agency to the requester detailing what was withheld, etc.

Thanks *so* much for all of your help. I hope you're well and that you'll be in touch.

Best wishes,
Beryl

From: Krauss, Gregory

Ms. Lipton:

This is a follow-up e-mail to summarize our conversation from last week. In that conversation, you indicated that you would request only determination letters (agency FOIA responses) sent by the FOIA office at DOE headquarters. That office is called the Office of Public Information. Accordingly, we will provide determination letters to you only if they were submitted along with an appeal and if they were issued by the Office of Public Information.

If you have any other questions or wish to check on the status of your request, please feel free to contact me.

Gregory Krauss
Attorney Advisor
U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Hearings and Appeals
gregory.krauss@hq.doe.gov<mailto:gregory.krauss@hq.doe.gov>
202-287-1574

From: Krauss, Gregory

Dear Ms. Lipton:

The Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) at the Department of Energy has completed a partial response to your FOIA request. Please see the attached documents. We will be providing additional documents in a subsequent release.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Sincerely,

Gregory Krauss
Attorney Advisor
U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Hearings and Appeals
gregory.krauss@hq.doe.gov
202-287-1574

From: Krauss, Gregory

Dear Ms. Lipton:

On May 30, 2017, the Office of Hearings and Appeals completed a partial response to your FOIA request. I am writing just to let you know that we are continuing to process the rest of your request. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Sincerely,

Gregory Krauss
Attorney Advisor
U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Hearings and Appeals
gregory.krauss@hq.doe.gov
202-287-1574

From: MuckRock

Hello Mr. Krauss,

Thanks so much for the update. Hope you've been well.

Have a lovely weekend!
Beryl

From: Darr, Melissa (CONTR)

Good Afternoon Ms. Lipton,

I am following up on a voicemail I left for you today. I am working with Mr. Krauss on your request, HQ-2017-00712-F, and I wanted to discuss your request with you. I can be reached at 202-287-6745.
Best Wishes,
Melissa Darr, Esq.
FOIA Analyst
Central Research, Inc. Contractor
U.S. Department of Energy
1000 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20585
(202)287-6745

From: Darr, Melissa (CONTR)

Good Afternoon Beryl,

Thank you for speaking with me about your request. We will go ahead and process the FOIA requests that received formal remands to you in satisfaction of HQ-2017-00712-F. Once you have a chance to look those over, if you have any questions or would like any additional information, please let me know.
Best Wishes,
Melissa

From: Department of Energy

A copy of documents responsive to the request.

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