Loading...

EPA to Allow Political Appointees to Block FOIA Document Disclosures

June 27, 2019 by Dan McCue
Andrew Wheeler at an EPA press conference last week announcing a nationwide plan to address PFAS in drinking water. PFAS water contamination has affected thousands in Bucks and Montgomery Counties.

WASHINGTON – A new EPA rule published Wednesday in the Federal Register would allow political appointees to review and withhold documents requested by the public under the Freedom of Information Act.

The rule was signed by EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler on June 14 and takes effect July 26.

Wheeler’s endorsement was not preceded by a public comment period.

One has to read six pages into the rule to find out that Wheeler and at least 11 other political appointees will now “issue final determinations whether to release or withhold a record or a portion of a record on the basis of responsiveness or under one or more exemptions under the FOIA, and to issue ‘no records’ responses.”

Friday’s Federal Register notice supplements a previous rule change that said the administrator or his delegate would oversee FOIA requests.

The new rules specifies these designees can include deputy administrators, assistant administrators, deputy assistant administrators, regional administrators, deputy regional administrators, general counsel, deputy general counsels, regional counsels, deputy regional counsels and inspector general or those individuals’ delegates.

The rule also changes the process for filing FOIA requests. Under the new rule, requests must be sent to headquarters in Washington, which will then send them to regional offices.

“If a requester erroneously submits a FOIA request to an EPA program or regional office, the EPA will not consider the request received by the Agency, the notice says.

October 20, 2021
by Dan McCue
Senate GOP Blocks Democrats’ Election Reform Bill, Filibuster Support Softens

WASHINGTON -- Despite changes reflecting the spirit of compromise, Senate Democrats were unable on Wednesday to convince a single Republican... Read More

WASHINGTON -- Despite changes reflecting the spirit of compromise, Senate Democrats were unable on Wednesday to convince a single Republican to vote with them in support of guaranteeing Americans the right to easy access to the polls.  As a result, the Senate voted 49-51 to end... Read More

October 20, 2021
by Dan McCue
Poll Shows Youngkin Gaining in Virginia Governor’s Race, Redistricting Delays

With just two critical weeks to go before Election Day, Republican Glenn Youngkin has pulled into a statistical dead heat... Read More

With just two critical weeks to go before Election Day, Republican Glenn Youngkin has pulled into a statistical dead heat with Democrat Terry McAuliffe. A widening partisan gap in voter engagement and an apparent shift in issue priorities are bolstering the GOP newcomer, a new poll... Read More

October 20, 2021
by Dan McCue
FDA Signs Off on Moderna, J&J Boosters, Mixing Vaccines

WASHINGTON - The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday said Americans who got either the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson... Read More

WASHINGTON - The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday said Americans who got either the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine can now get a COVID-19 booster, and also say that those eligible for a booster don’t have to get the same brand as their initial... Read More

October 20, 2021
by Alexa Hornbeck
EPA Accelerates Efforts to Clean Up PFAS Pollution

This week, the Environmental Protection Agency released a new roadmap to accelerate efforts to protect Americans from per- and polyfluoroalkyl... Read More

This week, the Environmental Protection Agency released a new roadmap to accelerate efforts to protect Americans from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, a class of toxic chemicals found in food packaging and other common commercial products that can cause severe health problems. "We are exploring ways for... Read More

October 20, 2021
by Tom Ramstack
Congress Tries to Intervene In Supply Chain Disruptions

WASHINGTON -- While economists warned about disruptions to the U.S. supply chain, Chuck Fowke told a congressional panel Wednesday about... Read More

WASHINGTON -- While economists warned about disruptions to the U.S. supply chain, Chuck Fowke told a congressional panel Wednesday about countertops. “If you can’t get the cabinets, you can’t put the countertops on,” Fowke said as he testified on behalf of the National Association of Home... Read More

October 20, 2021
by Alexa Hornbeck
Developer of Gene Editing Tool Discusses Ethics of Emerging Treatments

It was only nine years ago that researchers discovered a method for editing human genes using a specialized technology called... Read More

It was only nine years ago that researchers discovered a method for editing human genes using a specialized technology called the CRISPR-Cas9 tool.   CRISPR-Cas9 enables geneticists and medical researchers to edit parts of the genome by removing, adding or altering sections of the DNA sequence.  Ethicists,... Read More

News From The Well
Exit mobile version