FOIA REQUESTS BY SOUTHEASTERN LEGAL FOUNDATION TO EPA PRODUCES MOSTLY REDACTED, INCOMPLETE DOCUMENTS – LACK OF TRANSPARENCY APPARENT
Recently, the Atlanta-based Southeastern Legal Foundation (SLF) filed a lawsuit in federal court against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for allegedly violating the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), by stalling requests, denying fee waivers for document production, and producing mostly redacted or incomplete documents.
FOIA – established under President Lyndon Johnson – and amended by Congress throughout the past four decades – was established as a way to provide a citizen microscope to view the inner workings of federal agencies. In 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed with SLF that the Obama Administration enacted overreaching efforts to install wholesale changes to the Clean Air Act, and the FOIA documents sought were relative to this case and the EPA’s ongoing unilateral efforts to enforce new regulations without Congressional approval.
“The EPA has engaged in a regular pattern of stall, deny, stall, deny, and ultimately produce some of the requested documents that have been so thoroughly redacted as to be useless,” said Shannon Goessling, SLF executive director and chief legal counsel.
“According to Congress, Americans are entitled to the information as part of the full exercise of First Amendment rights under the Constitution. To deny and play ‘hide the ball’ confirms that, far from being the ‘most transparent administration in U.S. history,’ as President Obama declared, his administration is in fact the least transparent in history.” said Goessling.
President Obama had often used the term “transparency” when referring to his administration, although it is clear that the EPA has not practiced this as seen in the visuals above.
Southeastern Legal Foundation, founded in 1976, is a constitutional public interest law firm and policy center that regularly appears before the U.S. Supreme Court and has been involved in more than three dozen landmark Supreme Court decisions on issues including property rights, free speech, government accountability, economic liberty, and the Census. For additional information, please visit www.southeasternlegal.org and www.epalawsuit.org.