FWS ECPO Traffic Mortality

Jimmy Tobias filed this request with the U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service, Region 4 of the United States of America .
Tracking #

FWS-2020-00654

Status
Completed

Communications

From: Jimmy Tobias


To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:

Any electronic communications, including email attachments and data files, between FWS Region 4 staff, including staff at the FWS's Vero Beach office, and any applicants, lawyers, consultants, lobbyists or representatives with the Eastern Collier Property Owners (ECPO) that relate to potential mortality among Florida panthers due to the traffic impacts of the proposed Eastern Collier Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan and the associated EIS and BO. This request also seeks any traffic study, traffic analysis, traffic report or traffic model, and related data, that has been shared or discussed between ECPO and FWS concerning Florida panthers and roadway mortality.

I request expedited processing for this request, given the urgent nature of this issue and the agency's impending decision on the HCP in question.

I am a reporter with The Guardian and other news outlets, and any information obtained from this request will be used to inform the public about critical endangered species issues.

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,

Jimmy Tobias

From: U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service, Region 4

Dear Jimmy Tobias:

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Headquarters FOIA Office received your request dated May 5, 2020. We have forwarded your request to our Atlanta office for processing. You will receive a formal acknowledgement shortly.

If you have any questions regarding your FOIA request, please contact Tiffany McClurkin at tiffany_mcclurkin@fws.gov.

Respectfully,
Barb

United States Fish and Wildlife Service
Headquarters Freedom of Information Act Office
MS: IRTM
5275 Leesburg Pike
Falls Church, VA 22041

From: U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service, Region 4

Dear Jimmy Tobias:

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) office received your request dated May 5, 2020 and assigned it tracking number FWS-2020-00654. Please cite this number in any future communications with our office regarding your request.

You requested the following:

“Any electronic communications, including email attachments and data files, between FWS Region 4 staff, including staff at the FWS's Vero Beach office, and any applicants, lawyers, consultants, lobbyists or representatives with the Eastern Collier Property Owners (ECPO) that relate to potential mortality among Florida panthers due to the traffic impacts of the proposed Eastern Collier Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan and the associated EIS and BO. This request also seeks any traffic study, traffic analysis, traffic report or traffic model, and related data, that has been shared or discussed between ECPO and FWS concerning Florida panthers and roadway mortality.”

We have classified you as a representative of the news media. As such, we may charge you for some of our duplication costs, but we will not charge you for our search or review costs; you also are entitled to up to 100 pages of photocopies (or an equivalent volume) for free. See 43 C.F.R. § 2.39. If, after taking into consideration your fee category entitlements, our processing costs are less than $50.00, we will not bill you because the cost of collection would be greater than the fee collected. See 43 C.F.R. § 2.37(g).

Our regulations require that your request must explicitly state that you will pay all fees associated with processing the request, that you will pay fees up to a specified amount, and/or that you are seeking a fee waiver. Your request does not fulfill this requirement because you have stated the following “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.” Therefore, we are unable to process your request at this time. If you wish to pursue your request, please provide fee clarification as it is unclear if you will pay fees.

According to our regulations, if we do not receive your written response clarifying these points within 20 workdays from the date of this communication, we will presume that you are no longer interested in pursuing your request. In such circumstances, we will not be able to comply with your request and will close our file on it. See 43 C.F.R. § 2.6(c)and § 2.51(c).

You have asked for expedited processing . Our FOIA regulations state that bureaus will waive, or partially waive, fees if disclosure of all or part of the information is (1) In the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of government operations or activities, and (2) Not primarily in your commercial interest. See 43 C.F.R. § 2.45(a). Our FOIA regulations also provide four specific criteria that are used to determine whether these two requirements are met. See 43 C.F.R. § 2.48(a). Your request meets the requirements and your fee waiver has been granted.

If you have any questions about our response to your request, you may contact Tiffany McClurkin, by email at foiar4@fws.gov, or by mail at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; ATTN: Tiffany McClurkin; 1 Wildlife Drive; Sanibel, FL 33957.

Respectfully,

Tiffany McClurkin
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Headquarters Information Resources & Technology Management
Atlanta Regional Office
FOIA Coordinator

From: Jimmy Tobias

Dear Ms. McClurkin,

Thank you for the note. As a reporter who plans to use the public records I have requested to publish newsworthy articles of interest to the American public, I request a fee waiver for this FOIA request. Specifically, the records that I am requesting from your agency will significantly contribute to the American public's understanding of whether and how the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is protecting the endangered Florida panther's habitat in southern Florida. It will also shed light on which business interests and lobbyists are influencing the agency's decision making. The Florida panther's survival, and the general implementation of the ESA, is an issue of the utmost importance, as it pertains directly to the U.S. government's commitment to mitigating the extinction crisis that threatens wildlife around the country. As such, I request all fees in this matter be waived.

I have a long track record of publishing important stories of public interests on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and intend to continue doing this work with the help of the documents your agency provides. You can find an example of my work here: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/oct/18/trump-administration-us-endangered-species-discussions-secret

If the agency denies me a fee waiver, I am willing to pay up to $50 in fees.

If you have any further questions, please contact me at 248-763-0088.

Sincerely,

Jimmy Tobias

From: U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service, Region 4

Good Morning Mr. Tobias,

Thanks for your reply.

You have asked us to waive the fees for processing your request. Our FOIA regulations state that bureaus will waive, or partially waive, fees if disclosure of all or part of the information is (1) In the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of government operations or activities, and (2) Not primarily in your commercial interest. See 43 C.F.R. § 2.45(a). Our FOIA regulations also provide four specific criteria that are used to determine whether these two requirements are met. See 43 C.F.R. § 2.48(a). Your request meets the requirements and your fee waiver has been granted.

We use Multitrack Processing to process FOIA requests. The Simple track is for requests that would generally take one to five workdays to process. The Normal track is for requests that would generally take six to twenty workdays to process. The Complex track is for requests that would generally take twenty-one to sixty workdays to process. The Extraordinary track is for requests that would generally take more than sixty workdays to process. The Expedited track is for requests that have been granted expedited processing, which are processed as soon as practicable. Within each track, requests are usually processed on a first-in, first-out basis.

Your request falls into the Complex processing track. Presuming that our current FOIA capacity and burden remain constant, we expect that we will dispatch a determination to you by June 11, 2020. Our estimated date of completion is August 7, 2020.

Respectfully,

Tiffany McClurkin
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Headquarters Information Resources & Technology Management
Atlanta Regional Office
FOIA Coordinator

From: U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service, Region 4

Good Morning Mr. Tobias,

I need to make to my previous emails.

To clarify, expedited processing and your fee waiver have both been granted. Brigette Beaton, Attorney-Advisor with the Office of the Solicitor, was consulted in reaching the decision for expedited processing.

We use Multitrack Processing to process FOIA requests. The Simple track is for requests that would generally take one to five workdays to process. The Normal track is for requests that would generally take six to twenty workdays to process. The Complex track is for requests that would generally take twenty-one to sixty workdays to process. The Extraordinary track is for requests that would generally take more than sixty workdays to process. The Expedited track is for requests that have been granted expedited processing, which are processed as soon as practicable. Within each track, requests are usually processed on a first-in, first-out basis.

Your request falls into the Expedited processing track. Presuming that our current FOIA capacity and burden remain constant, we expect that we will dispatch a determination to you by June 11, 2020.

Sorry about any confusion my previous emails may have caused. Thanks!

Respectfully,

Tiffany McClurkin
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Headquarters Information Resources & Technology Management
Atlanta Regional Office
FOIA Coordinator

From: U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service, Region 4

Hello Mr. Tobias,

You will have an interim release on by Feb 5, 2021.

Maritiza T. Harris
Government Information Specialist
HQ FWS Division of Information Resources
and Technology Management
Falls Church, VA 22041
703-358-2698
Maritiza_Harris@fws.gov<mailto:mtharris@blm.gov>

From: U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service, Region 4

DOI-FWS-2020-00654 has been approved for an interim release.

Hello Mr. Tobias,

This interim letter is in response to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, dated May 5, 2020, and received in our office on the same day.

“Any electronic communications, including email attachments and data files, between FWS Region 4 staff, including staff at the FWS's Vero Beach office, and any applicants, lawyers, consultants, lobbyists or representatives with the Eastern Collier Property Owners (ECPO) that relate to potential mortality among Florida panthers due to the traffic impacts of the proposed Eastern Collier Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan and the associated EIS and BO. This request also seeks any traffic study, traffic analysis, traffic report or traffic model, and related data, that has been shared or discussed between ECPO and FWS concerning Florida panthers and roadway mortality.”

We are providing 43 pages and an Excel workbook being released in its entirety.

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