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The Hill
February 26, 2018

EPA faces record number of transparency lawsuits
By Miranda Green

A record number of anti-secrecy lawsuits were filed in 2017 against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under Administrator Scott Pruitt, Politico reported Monday. Forty-six open records lawsuits were filed against the EPA in 2017, according to data from the FOIA Project at the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, with a total of 55 open records lawsuits filed against the agency since President Trump took office. The next busiest year on record was 2015, when 22 lawsuits were filed after the Obama EPA finalized major rules on wetlands protection and power plant emissions. By comparison, former President George W. Bush's EPA faced only 57 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits during his entire eight-year presidency. Lawsuits are typically brought against agencies to force the release of data from FOIA requests, and are usually final recourse for requesters after agencies fail to release public information in a timely manner as mandated by law. The EPA blames the FOIA backlog on requests left over from the the Obama administration, saying that, as of Monday, 60 percent of the 650 cases left over from the previous administration have been closed.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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