Under the Environmental Protection Agency’s new FOIA regulations which were implemented back in July, the EPA is no longer accepting request submissions via email, joining the Federal Bureau of Investigation in requiring requests be made through an online portal or snail mail.
The change was noticed by reporter Scott MacFarlane, who posted a screenshot of the EPA’s response to an emailed submission on Twitter.
The new regulations drew considerable criticism when they were first announced for both seemingly broadening the opportunities for officials to withhold records and for the lack of a public comment period. This additional restriction on email, while relatively minor, adds an additional layer of complexity to the FOIA process, along with arbitrary - and arguably illegal - restrictions, such as character limits.
They have a web portal which can be used. Those portals can limit characters and are arguably limiting because you can’t directly send foias to the inspector general of epa, which is supposed to be watchdogging the agency— Scott MacFarlane (@MacFarlaneNews) September 3, 2019
As of writing, several outlets have already made public statements about potentially challenging the email restriction in court.
The EPA’s new FOIA regulations are embedded below.
Image via EPA Flickr