EPA Fulfilled This FOIA Request, But Redacted Emails Using Duct Tape

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Michael Bastasch Contributor
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Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) senior fellow Chris Horner was surprised when sections emails he obtained from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) were redacted in a very unorthodox way.

Parts of emails produced as part of Horner’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request were redacted using duct tape. In the documents, EPA claims the duct tape redactions are, at least in part, to protect “attorney-client privilege.”

The EPA has been making a concerted effort to eat away at the FOIA backlog left behind by the Obama administration. Obama officials had left 652 requests open at the beginning of 2017, and that’s on top of the 11,493 requests filed in Fiscal Year 2017.


The EPA’s effort has resulted in many journalists, including this reporter, receiving responses to FOIA requests filed years ago.

In December, The Daily Caller News Foundation received a response to a FOIA request filed in 2015 asking for emails between Obama administration officials and environmental groups regarding the Clean Power Plan.

TheDCNF’s request was denied and needed to be narrowed down in scope.

Federal agencies are required by law to respond to FOIA requests within 20 working days. TheDCNF filed its FOIA request May 29, 2015, and EPA responded Dec. 21, 2017. The EPA’s response is only 626 working days late.

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