FOIA request - EPA memos

Christopher Collins filed this request with the Environmental Protection Agency of the United States of America.
Tracking # EPA-HQ-2017-003208
Est. Completion None
Status
Fix Required

Communications

From: Christopher Collins

To Whom It May Concern:

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

Any and all memo(s) or other types of printed or emailed messages distributed by a Trump administration transition team to communication directors and/or other employees at the Environmental Protection Agency regarding new protocols for communicating with the public and/or the media. The new protocols previously have been the subject of a Huffington Post report: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/environmental-protection-grants-staff_us_5886825be4b0e3a7356b575f?pon75akll8ei5dn29

I also write to request a list of new communication policies developed by the EPA and/or a Trump transition team in connection to the aforementioned protocols.

Last, I write to request any and all memo(s) or other types of printed or emailed messages distributed to EPA employees regarding a moratorium, suspension or related action regarding the EPA's awarding of grants and contracts. This has been the subject of a Propublica report: https://www.propublica.org/article/trump-administration-imposes-freeze-on-epa-grants-and-contracts

The date range for all requested documents is Jan. 1, 2017, to Jan. 24, 2017.

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,

Christopher Collins
Investigative journalist
collinsreports.com
325-261-3910
940-631-1828

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=090004d28111e4f6)
* Tracking Number: EPA-HQ-2017-003208
* Requester Name: Christopher Collins
* Date Submitted: 01/25/2017
* Request Status: Submitted
* Description: Requesting any and all memo(s) or other types of printed or emailed messages distributed by a Trump administration transition team to communication directors and/or other employees at the Environmental Protection Agency regarding new protocols for communicating with the public and/or the media.

From: Lemley.lauren@epa.gov

02/14/2017 04:19 PM FOIA Request: EPA-HQ-2017-003210

From: Lemley.lauren@epa.gov

02/14/2017 04:20 PM FOIA Request: EPA-HQ-2017-003210

From: Lemley.lauren@epa.gov

Your request for Expedited Processing for the FOIA request EPA-HQ-2017-003210 has been granted. Additional details for this request are as follows:
* Request Created on: 01/25/2017
* Expedited Disposition Reason: N/A
* Request Long Description: Requesting any all emails — sent between Jan. 20, 2017, and the date your office processes this request, inclusive — notifying employees of a temporary suspension of EPA contract and grant awards.

From: Dolph, Becky

Mr. Eaton: I am writing in regard to your FOIA Request EPA-HQ-2017-003210 in which your seek "any all emails - sent between Jan. 20, 2017, and the date your office processes this request, inclusive - notifying employees of a temporary suspension of EPA contract and grant awards."

Your request as submitted is not a proper request because it does not reasonably describe the records sought as required by both the FOIA statute and the Agency's regulations. See 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(3)(A); 40 C.F.R. § 2.102(c). In order for us to process your request, you should "include specific information about each record sought, such as the date, title or name, author, recipient, and subject matter. If known, you should include any file designations or descriptions for the records that you want. The more specific you are about the records or type of records that you want, the more likely EPA will be able to identify and locate records responsive to your request. . ." 40 C.F.R. § 2.102(c).

Please contact me within 10 days of the date of this correspondence so that we can assist in clarifying request. If we do not hear from you by that date, we will consider your request voluntarily withdrawn.

Thank you for your interest in EPA.

Becky Dolph

Becky Dolph | Director, FOIA Expert Assistance Team Office
U.S Environmental Protection Agency
Office of General Counsel | 7309B WJCN | 202-564-5771

From: Christopher Collins

Hi, my name is Christopher Collins, not Joshua Eaton. However, I filed a similar request with the EPA on Jan. 24, 2017. I suppose there's been some kind of mix-up. For reference, this is what I requested.

"Any and all memo(s) or other types of printed or emailed messages distributed by a Trump administration transition team to communication directors and/or other employees at the Environmental Protection Agency regarding new protocols for communicating with the public and/or the media. The new protocols previously have been the subject of a Huffington Post report: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/environmental-protection-grants-staff_us_5886825be4b0e3a7356b575f?pon75akll8ei5dn29

I also write to request a list of new communication policies developed by the EPA and/or a Trump transition team in connection to the aforementioned protocols.

Last, I write to request any and all memo(s) or other types of printed or emailed messages distributed to EPA employees regarding a moratorium, suspension or related action regarding the EPA's awarding of grants and contracts. This has been the subject of a Propublica report: https://www.propublica.org/article/trump-administration-imposes-freeze-on-epa-grants-and-contracts

The date range for all requested documents is Jan. 1, 2017, to Jan. 24, 2017."

From: Dolph, Becky

I will look into confusion on numbers. Nonetheless, your request as drafted is also an improper request. Is there a number where I can reach you, or could you please contact me at 202-564-5771 so that we may discuss your request?
Thanks,
Becky Dolph

Becky Dolph | Director, FOIA Expert Assistance Team Office
U.S Environmental Protection Agency
Office of General Counsel | 7309B WJCN | 202-564-5771

From: Dolph, Becky

Mr. Collins – I checked to see what the confusion was regarding my correspondence to Joshua Eaton. I wrote to Mr. Eaton regarding his request EPA-HQ-2017-003210. However it appears that you and he both have the same email address in your requests on FOIAonline. I have copied the information from FOIAonline for your two requests below.

Thanks,
Becky Dolph

Becky Dolph | Director, FOIA Expert Assistance Team Office
U.S Environmental Protection Agency
Office of General Counsel | 7309B WJCN | 202-564-5771

Tracking Number :EPA-HQ-2017-003208
<https://foiaonline.regulations.gov/foia/action/agency/createRequest?autopopulateRequesterId=UgDUfp0NqWBflwqzbp8tLqaXOtnHYaz2> Requester : Mr. Christopher Collins
Organization :
MuckRock
Requester Has Account :
No
Email Address :
requests@muckrock.com
Phone Number : N/A
Fax Number : N/A
Address :
411A Highland Avenue
DEPT MR 32411
City :
Somerville
State/Province : MA
Zip Code/Postal Code : 02144
Submitted Date : 01/25/2017

Tracking Number :EPA-HQ-2017-003210
<https://foiaonline.regulations.gov/foia/action/agency/createRequest?autopopulateRequesterId=NXpDzdQXbStflwqzbp8tLgI_5Qeg6IQA> Requester : Mr. Joshua Eaton
Organization :
MuckRock
Email Address :
requests@muckrock.com
Phone Number : N/A
Fax Number : N/A
Address :
411A Highland Avenue
DEPT MR 32425
City :
Somerville
State/Province : MA
Zip Code/Postal Code : 02144
<https://foiaonline.regulations.gov/foia/action/agency/request/detail?requestId=YzZAT_Iv3dfL-rsATth2CQ0meJQplvLK#anc> Submitted Date : 01/25/2017

From: Christopher Collins

My request is the one that was assigned tracking number EPA-HQ-2017-003208. I haven't gotten any communication from EPA on it yet (maybe because I was receiving Eaton's responses). Has any progress been made on my request?

Thank you.

Chris

From: Dolph, Becky

As I indicated in my first email to you this morning, your request also is an improper request as submitted. In that message I asked you to either contact me at 202-564-5771 or to provide a telephone number at which I could contact you so that we can discuss your request. I see that your signature block includes a telephone number. In looking at my schedule, I am generally available today between 1-3 p.m. ET and I will plan to reach out to you then. If you are not available during that time, I am available tomorrow (Thursday) from 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. ET and 3-6 p.m. ET and all day Friday. Hopefully we can connect this week to discuss clarification of your request.

As submitted, your request does not reasonably describe the records sought as required by both the FOIA statute and the Agency's regulations. See 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(3)(A); 40 C.F.R. § 2.102(c). In order for us to process your request, you should "include specific information about each record sought, such as the date, title or name, author, recipient, and subject matter. If known, you should include any file designations or descriptions for the records that you want. The more specific you are about the records or type of records that you want, the more likely EPA will be able to identify and locate records responsive to your request. . ." 40 C.F.R. § 2.102(c).
Thanks,
Becky Dolph

Becky Dolph | Director, FOIA Expert Assistance Team Office
U.S Environmental Protection Agency
Office of General Counsel | 7309B WJCN | 202-564-5771

From: Christopher Collins

I can be reached at 940-631-1828 today if you'd like to call between 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. ET.

From: Dolph, Becky

Chris: Thank you for taking the time to talk with me regarding you FOIA Request EPA-HQ-2017-003208 pending with EPA. Although your request was not a proper request as submitted, in our conversation we were able to clarify your request so that we are now able to proceed with processing.

You have agreed to clarify your request to seek the following:
1) Any memo, email or other document issued from 1/1/2017 to the present from any of the temporary employees who joined the Agency as part of what is referred to as the "beachhead team" directing EPA staff to cease communications with the public and 2) Any subsequent memo, email or other document issued to staff to effectuate any direction from the beachhead team directing EPA staff to cease communications with the public. This portion of your request is limited to the memo, email or other document issued by the most senior career staff member of EPA, either in the Office of the Administrator or the Office of Public Affairs; you do not seek memos, emails, or other documents further disseminating this information throughout the Agency;

3) Any memo, email or other document issued from 1/1/2017 to the present from any of the temporary employees who joined the Agency as part of what is referred to as the "beachhead team" directing EPA staff to freeze or otherwise suspend all contracts and grants and 4) Any subsequent memo, email or other document issued to staff to effectuate any direction from the beachhead team directing EPA staff to freeze or otherwise suspend all contracts and grants. This portion of your request is limited to the memo, email or other document issued by the most senior career staff member of EPA either in the Office of the Administrator or the Office of Administration and Resources Management; you do not seek memos, emails, or other documents further disseminating this information throughout the Agency; and

5) any new communication policies developed or implemented by the EPA Office of Public Affairs from 1/1/2017 - 3/1/2017.

I appreciate your cooperation in clarifying your request and your interest in the EPA.

Becky Dolph

Becky Dolph | Director, FOIA Expert Assistance Team Office
U.S Environmental Protection Agency
Office of General Counsel | 7309B WJCN | 202-564-5771

From: Dolph, Becky

Chris – Your request is being process now. It will be completed by the end of the month if not before.
Thanks,
Becky Dolph

Becky Dolph | Director, FOIA Expert Assistance Team Office
U.S Environmental Protection Agency
Office of General Counsel | 7309B WJCN | 202-564-5771

From: sandfoss.kristina@epa.gov

Good Morning Mr. Eaton,

This email is in response to the communications that were recently forwarded to me.   Without the FOIA Request Tracking Number clearly provided in each of follow-up correspondence, any inquiry regarding an open FOIA that is sent to the National FOIA Office cannot be processed.  With the inclusion of the Request Number in your most recent inquiry, the FOIA Office was able to identify my office as the point of contact.

I’ve attached the correspondence our Office of General Counsel sent to your provided email address on February 23, 2017 requesting clarification on your request.  Contact information was provided to you at that time, and you were advised to reach out to Becky Dolph, either by phone or by email.  We were in the process of closing this request out for failure to respond, but we are responding to other FOIAs requesting “1) Any memo, email or other document issued from 1/1/2017 to the present from any of the temporary employees who joined the Agency as part of what is referred to as the "beachhead team" directing EPA staff to freeze or otherwise suspend all contracts and grants and 2) Any subsequent memo, email or other document issued to staff to effectuate any direction from the beachhead team directing EPA staff to freeze or otherwise suspend all contracts and grants. This portion of the request is limited to the memo, email or other document issued by the most senior career staff member of EPA either in the Office of the Administrator or the Office of Administration and Resources Management; you do not seek memos, emails, or other documents further disseminating this information throughout the Agency.”

We will treat your request as clarified to seek that information if you so choose, otherwise you would need to submit a new request with more specific parameters.

Please let me know if you have any questions, I can be reached at 202-564-7177 or Sandfoss.kristina@epa.gov.

Thank you for your interest in the EPA and have a wonderful day!
Kristina

From: Christopher Collins

This is Mr. Collins, not Mr. Eaton. I have previously straightened out this confusion with Beck Dolph, with whom I have been communicating about this request.

From: Sandfoss, Kristina

Apologies for the miscommunication.

From: sandfoss.kristina@epa.gov

EPA-HQ-2017-003210 has been processed with the following final disposition: Full grant.
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=090004d28111e9af)

From: White, Candace

Good Morning Mr. Collins: Attached are documents In reference to your FOIA request.

Kind Regards,
Candy

Candace S White
Program Analyst
Office of Public Affairs
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
202-564-4308 Desk
202-731-3188 Cell
white.candace@epa.gov<mailto:white.candace@epa.gov>

Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can - Arthur Ashe

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From: Valentine, Julia

Hi Chris - this email is to let you know that we are still working on your request. We hope to be in touch again soon. We are processing a very large number of requests right now. Thanks for your patience and please let me or Candace White, copied above, know if you have any questions.
Thanks,
Julia Valentine

Julia P. Valentine
Office of Public Affairs
202.564.2663 direct
202.740.1336 m/txt

From: newton.jonathan@epa.gov

08/08/2017 01:01 PM FOIA Request: EPA-HQ-2017-003208

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