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  Policy and Public Interest Groups
Sunlight Foundation
February 27, 2018

New analyses find a secretive EPA is hampering the publicís rights to know
By Andrew Bergman

Independent analyses of federal data show that there has been a significant increase in public records lawsuits against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) during Administrator Scott Pruittís tenure Ė and that the nationís top environmental regulator has not responded to the vast majority of public records requests that it has received in the last year. On February 26, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) released a preliminary analysis by its director of investigations, Nick Schwellenbach, and me, in my capacity as an advisor to POGO, that documented EPA delays in responding to public records requests. Using publicly available Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) data, we identified 3 clear patterns over the last year: The EPA Administratorís Office is closing FOIA requests at a significantly lower rate than the rest of the agency The Office of the Administrator has faced a significant increase in the number of FOIA requests Some FOIA requests routed to the Office of the Administrator are for the same or substantially overlapping records POGOís analysis was in coordination with a Politico review of data compiled by The FOIA Project that found that FOIA lawsuits have more than doubled since the Obama administration, with 55 public records lawsuits filed against the EPA since Inauguration Day in January 2017. The FOIA Project is operated by Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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