Rusty Patched Bumble Bee External Emails

Alexander Rony filed this request with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of the United States of America .
Tracking #

FWS-2019-00435

Status
Completed

Communications

From: Alexander Rony

To Whom It May Concern:

I. Description of Records Sought

I hereby request the following records under the Freedom of Information Act:

1. Emails between Greg Sheehan and Parker Moore (pmoore@bdlaw.com).
2. Emails between Gary Frazer and Parker Moore (pmoore@bdlaw.com).
3. Emails between Greg Sheehan and any of the following organizations: American Farm Bureau Federation (@fb.org); American Petroleum Institute (@api.org); Bayer; Beveridge & Diamond PC (@bdlaw.com); CropLife America (@croplifeamerica.org); Independent Petroleum Association of America (@ipaa.org); National Association of Home Builders (@nahb.org); National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (@nasda.org); National Corn Growers Association (@ncga.com); National Cotton Council (@cotton.org); and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (@nreca.coop).

The date range for these records should be from January 20, 2017 to the date this request is processed. Please include any files attached to said emails. I prefer my request be filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

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.

If you determine that portions of the requested records are exempt from disclosure, I request that you segregate the exempt portions and deliver the non-exempt portions of such records. If Fish and Wildlife Service denies all or part of this request, please cite the specific exemptions you believe justify your refusal to release the information.

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) and 43 C.F.R. §2.45. 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 meaningfully participate in the debate over how commercial interests in oil, agriculture, and housing development are influencing the government's protection of endangered species.

Currently, these industries appear to be working together to erode appropriate safety measures in the formation of formal protections for the first listed bumble bee in the continental United States, the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee. These conversations have further ramifications for federally-approved projects that require environmental reviews, as those projects must consider impacts on endangered species. It appears from agency documents already released that these industries are colluding to protect private profits over endangered species, to weaken protections for crucial wildlife. Several agency employees have been involved in meetings and email communications with industry groups and their representatives over the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee.

The subject matter of the requested records is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations and activities of the government by revealing conversations between private entities and trade groups with interests in eroding endangered species protections, and government officials charged with ensuring their safety. The public must know whether certain industries are seeking to harm endangered species protections, and whether government officials are helping to reduce wildlife safety on behalf of private corporations.

The Sierra Club and its supporters have demonstrated interest and expertise in the subject area of protecting wildlife and endangered species, as the organization is committed to maintaining the integrity of wildlife habitat and the environment. We have active campaigns on these matters and our supporters have written hundreds of thousands of public comments regarding the protection of pollinators and endangered species, including the endangered Rusty Patched Bumble Bee.

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 preparing summaries for press outreach.

For example, I have previously written about the federal hiring freeze's impact on agencies:

https://sierraclub.org/planet/2017/05/trump-admin-policies-leave-700-cdc-jobs-vacant
https://sierraclub.org/planet/2017/04/hiring-freeze-prevented-epa-filling-hundreds-jobs

This work, supplemented by Freedom of Information Act requests, was covered in major media outlets:

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.cnn.com/2017/04/13/politics/epa-hiring-freeze/index.html

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.

In the event that there are fees, please inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request.

Sincerely,

Alexander Rony
Sierra Club

From: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Dear Alexander Rony,

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Headquarters FOIA Office
received your request dated February 12, 2019. We have assigned your
request FOIA number FWS-2019-00435; please refer to this number when
inquiring about your request. We have forwarded your request to our
Director's Office for processing. You will receive a formal
acknowledgement shortly.

If you have any questions or concerns; please contact Connie Rose at
703-358-2470 or connie_rose@fws.gov.

Respectfully,

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

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: <requests@muckrock.com>
Date: Tue, Feb 12, 2019 at 2:55 PM
Subject: [EXTERNAL] Freedom of Information Act Request: Rusty Patched
Bumble Bee External Emails
To: <fwhq_foia@fws.gov>

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
FOIA Office
MS:IRTM
5275 Leesburg Pike
Falls Church, VA 22041

February 12, 2019

To Whom It May Concern:

I. Description of Records Sought

I hereby request the following records under the Freedom of Information Act:

1. Emails between Greg Sheehan and Parker Moore (pmoore@bdlaw.com).
2. Emails between Gary Frazer and Parker Moore (pmoore@bdlaw.com).
3. Emails between Greg Sheehan and any of the following organizations:
American Farm Bureau Federation (@fb.org); American Petroleum Institute (@
api.org); Bayer; Beveridge & Diamond PC (@bdlaw.com); CropLife America (@
croplifeamerica.org); Independent Petroleum Association of America (@
ipaa.org); National Association of Home Builders (@nahb.org); National
Association of State Departments of Agriculture (@nasda.org); National Corn
Growers Association (@ncga.com); National Cotton Council (@cotton.org); and
the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (@nreca.coop).

The date range for these records should be from January 20, 2017 to the
date this request is processed. Please include any files attached to said
emails. I prefer my request be filled electronically, by e-mail attachment
if available or CD-ROM if not.

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.

If you determine that portions of the requested records are exempt from
disclosure, I request that you segregate the exempt portions and deliver
the non-exempt portions of such records. If Fish and Wildlife Service
denies all or part of this request, please cite the specific exemptions you
believe justify your refusal to release the information.

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) and 43 C.F.R. §2.45.
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 meaningfully participate in the debate over how
commercial interests in oil, agriculture, and housing development are
influencing the government's protection of endangered species.

Currently, these industries appear to be working together to erode
appropriate safety measures in the formation of formal protections for the
first listed bumble bee in the continental United States, the Rusty Patched
Bumble Bee. These conversations have further ramifications for
federally-approved projects that require environmental reviews, as those
projects must consider impacts on endangered species. It appears from
agency documents already released that these industries are colluding to
protect private profits over endangered species, to weaken protections for
crucial wildlife. Several agency employees have been involved in meetings
and email communications with industry groups and their representatives
over the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee.

The subject matter of the requested records is likely to contribute
significantly to public understanding of the operations and activities of
the government by revealing conversations between private entities and
trade groups with interests in eroding endangered species protections, and
government officials charged with ensuring their safety. The public must
know whether certain industries are seeking to harm endangered species
protections, and whether government officials are helping to reduce
wildlife safety on behalf of private corporations.

The Sierra Club and its supporters have demonstrated interest and expertise
in the subject area of protecting wildlife and endangered species, as the
organization is committed to maintaining the integrity of wildlife habitat
and the environment. We have active campaigns on these matters and our
supporters have written hundreds of thousands of public comments regarding
the protection of pollinators and endangered species, including the
endangered Rusty Patched Bumble Bee.

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 preparing summaries for press
outreach.

For example, I have previously written about the federal hiring freeze's
impact on agencies:

https://sierraclub.org/planet/2017/05/trump-admin-policies-leave-700-cdc-jobs-vacant
https://sierraclub.org/planet/2017/04/hiring-freeze-prevented-epa-filling-hundreds-jobs

This work, supplemented by Freedom of Information Act requests, was covered
in major media outlets:

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.cnn.com/2017/04/13/politics/epa-hiring-freeze/index.html

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.

In the event that there are fees, please inform me of the total charges in
advance of fulfilling my request.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I
look forward to receiving your response to this request.

Sincerely,

Alexander Rony
Sierra Club

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PLEASE NOTE: This request is not filed by a MuckRock staff member, but is
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--
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

Mr. Rony,

Attached is a formal acknowledgement and fee letter regarding your Freedom
of Information Act (FOIA) request dated February 12, 2019 and received by
the Headquarters FOIA Office on the same day.

Your request has been assigned tracking number FWS-2019-00435. Please cite
this number in any future communications with our office regarding your
request.

If you have any questions, you may contact me by phone at 703-358-2470 or
by email at connie_rose@fws.gov.
Regards,

Connie Rose

--
Connie Rose
FOIA Coordinator
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters
703-358-2470

From: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Mr. Rony,

Per our regulations, we are required to work on requests in the order in
which they are received within their processing tracks. Your request is
currently 27th in our Normal processing track.

Connie Rose
--
Connie Rose
FOIA Coordinator
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters
703-358-2470

From: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Mr. Rony,

Regarding your FOIA request FWS-2019-00435, are you only interested in
emails between Greg and Parker, Gary and Parker, and Greg and Various
Organizations that pertain to Rusty Patched Bumble Bee? Or do you want all
emails between those entities for the dates you listed in your request?
You mention the bumble bee in the subject line of your request but didn't
include it in the "description of records sought" section of your request
so I wanted to clarify.
Thanks,
Connie Rose

--
Connie Rose
FOIA Coordinator
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters
703-358-2470

From: Alexander Rony

Dear Ms. Rose,

Regarding FOIA Request #FWS-2019-00435, I would like any emails between the entities and dates I listed. The reason I am requesting these is due to the rusty patched bumble bee, which I know has been discussed between these entities, but I expect a few communications won't specifically state "rusty patched bumble bee." I don't anticipate a heavy volume of documents for the first two items, but I am willing to discuss my request's scope if there are many documents identified, especially for item #3 (emails between Greg Sheehan and a number of organizations).

Regards,
Alexander

From: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Thanks for the clarification.
--
Connie Rose
FOIA Coordinator
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters
703-358-2470

From: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Mr. Rony,

Your request is number 21 out of 24 in our Normal Processing Track. We
handle requests first in, first out. The search has been completed, but
the records still need to be reviewed.

Connie Rose
--
Connie Rose
FOIA Coordinator
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters
703-358-2470

From: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Mr. Rony,

Attached is a final response letter and set of responsive records regarding
your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request dated February 12, 2019.

Your request has been assigned tracking number FWS-2019-00435. Please cite
this number in any future communications with our office regarding your
request.

This email completes our response to your request. If you have any
questions, you may contact me by phone at 703-358-2470 or by email at
connie_rose@fws.gov.
Regards,

Connie Rose

--
Connie Rose
FOIA Coordinator
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters
703-358-2470

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