SF-311 2017 (Environmental Protection Agency)

Emma Best filed this request with the Environmental Protection Agency of the United States of America.
Tracking #

EPA-HQ-2019-000140

EPA-HQ-2018-008922, EPA-HQ-2019-000140

EPA-HQ-2018-008922

Multi Request SF-311 2017
Est. Completion Oct. 12, 2018
Status
Awaiting Appeal

Communications

From: Emma Best


To Whom It May Concern:

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

Copies of all drafted, submitted or received SF-311 forms (https://www.archives.gov/files/isoo/security-forms/sf311.pdf) produced in the year prior to the receipt of this FOIA request. SF-311 forms may also be identified as Agency Security Classification Management Program Data.

I am a member of the news media and request classification as such. I have previously written about the government and its activities, with some reaching over 100,000 readers. As such, as I have a reasonable expectation of publication and my editorial and writing skills are well established. In addition, I discuss and comment on the files online and make them available through non-profits such as the Internet Archive and MuckRock, disseminating them to a large audience. While my research is not limited to this, a great deal of it, including this, focuses on the activities and attitudes of the government itself. As such, it is not necessary for me to demonstrate the relevance of this particular subject in advance.

Additionally, case law states that “proof of the ability to disseminate the released information to a broad cross- section of the public is not required.” Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Dep’t of Justice, 365 F.3d 1108, 1126 (D.C. Cir. 2004); see Carney v. U.S. Dep’t of Justice, 19 F.3d 807, 814-15 (2d Cir. 1994). Further, courts have held that "qualified because it also had “firm” plans to “publish a number of . . . ‘document sets’” concerning United States foreign and national security policy." Under this criteria, as well, I qualify as a member of the news media.

Additionally, courts have held that the news media status "focuses on the nature of the requester, not its request. The provision requires that the request be “made by” a representative of the news media. Id. § 552(a)(4)(A)(ii)(II). A newspaper reporter, for example, is a representative of the news media regardless of how much interest there is in the story for which he or she is requesting information." As such, the details of the request itself are moot for the purposes of determining the appropriate fee category.

As my primary purpose is to inform about government activities by reporting on it and making the raw data available, I request that fees be waived.

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,

Emma Best

From: Environmental Protection Agency

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=090004d281994034)
* Tracking Number: EPA-HQ-2018-008922
* Requester Name: Emma Best
* Date Submitted: 06/21/2018
* Request Status: Submitted
* Description: Copies of all drafted, submitted or received SF-311 forms (https://www.archives.gov/files/isoo/security-forms/sf311.pdf) produced in the year prior to the receipt of this FOIA request. SF-311 forms may also be identified as Agency Security Classification Management Program Data. I am a member of the news media and request classification as such. I have previously written about the government and its activities, with some reaching over 100,000 readers. As such, as I have a reasonable expectation of publication and my editorial and writing skills are well established. In addition, I discuss and comment on the files online and make them available through non-profits such as the Internet Archive and MuckRock, disseminating them to a large audience. While my research is not limited to this, a great deal of it, including this, focuses on the activities and attitudes of the government itself. As such, it is not necessary for me to demonstrate the relevance of this particular subject in advance. Additionally, case law states that “proof of the ability to disseminate the released information to a broad cross- section of the public is not required.” Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Dep’t of Justice, 365 F.3d 1108, 1126 (D.C. Cir. 2004); see Carney v. U.S. Dep’t of Justice, 19 F.3d 807, 814-15 (2d Cir. 1994). Further, courts have held that "qualified because it also had “firm” plans to “publish a number of . . . ‘document sets’” concerning United States foreign and national security policy." Under this criteria, as well, I qualify as a member of the news media.

From: Environmental Protection Agency

Good morning Ms. Best,
This email is to update you on the status of your request that was submitted June 21st, 2018 and assigned to the Office of Administration and Resources Management (OARM).  I apologize that we were unable to meet the estimated due date in FOIA OnLine and for the delay in notifying you. OARM is processing requests in the order submitted as well as on a multi-track system to process complex and simple request types concurrently. The division in OARM with responsive records has 18 pending requests and Request EPA-HQ-2018-008922 is 13th in the queue. The estimated completion date for this request is October 12th, 2018, but I am very hopeful it will be completed prior to that date.
As you may be aware, there has been a substantial increase in the volume and complexity of FOIA requests received by federal agencies. Please rest assured that OARM, and EPA as a whole, has been trying to diligently process all of its requests.  We sincerely apologize if there has been any inconvenience.  If it is possible for us to do so, we will provide you with interim releases as they become available. Please contact me at sandfoss.kristina@epa.gov or 202-564-7177 with any questions or if you desire to narrow your request.
Additionally, you may seek assistance from EPA’s FOIA Public Liaison at hq.foia@epa.gov or (202) 566-1667, or from the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS). You may contact OGIS in any of the following ways: by mail, Office of Government Information Services, National Archives and Records Administration, 8601 Adelphi Road-OGIS, College Park, MD 20740-6001; email: ogis@nara.gov; telephone: (202) 741-5770 or (877) 684-6448; or fax: (202) 741-5769.
Thank you for your interest in the EPA and have a wonderful day!
Kristina Sandfoss
OARM FOIA Coordinator

From: Environmental Protection Agency

EPA-HQ-2018-008922 has been processed with the following final disposition: Full Grant

From: Emma Best

I am appealing the decision to deny me news media status, despite the facts and case law being clear on the matter, as well as the failure to provide an actual response to the request (either granting or denying it), instead sending only an invoice for $0 without indicating the disposition of the FOIA request.

From: Environmental Protection Agency

This message is to notify you of a new appeal submission to the FOIAonline application. Appeal information is as follows:
* Appeal Tracking Number: EPA-HQ-2019-000140
* Request Tracking Number: EPA-HQ-2018-008922
* Requester Name: Emma Best
* Date Submitted: 10/04/2018
* Appeal Status: Submitted
* Description: Fee status and failure to provide records.

From: Environmental Protection Agency

A letter stating that the request appeal has been received and is being processed.

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