Access to Information, 8895-8901 [2017-02103]

Download as PDF pmangrum on DSK3GDR082PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 20 / Wednesday, February 1, 2017 / Rules and Regulations juvenile delinquency prevention programs. OJJDP published a notice of proposed rulemaking on August 8, 2016, 81 FR 52377, that proposed to revise the entirety of the Formula Grant Program regulations. On January 17, 2017, OJJDP published a partial final rule to amend portions of the formula grant program regulation to reflect changes in OJJDP policy. For several provisions, OJJDP addressed the public comments received and amended the current Formula Grant Program regulations through the partial final rule. The partial final rule is scheduled to become effective February 16, 2017. For other provisions included in the proposed rule, OJJDP received many comments that require additional time for OJJDP to consider. OJJDP anticipates publishing a separate final rule in the future addressing the remainder of the provisions contained in the August 8, 2016 proposed rule. This final rule merely extends for 33 days the effective date of the previously published partial final rule. There is no change to the substance of the partial final rule. Also, OJJDP has determined that the brief delay in the effective date would not delay OJJDP’s administration of the Formula Grant Program and would have no effect on the amount, the timing, or the distribution of FY2017 formula grant allocations made under the standards of the previously published partial final rule. Accordingly, because there is no substantive impact, the Acting Assistant Attorney General finds that allowing a prior opportunity for notice and public comment is unnecessary and that, therefore, good cause exists to exempt this rule from notice-and-comment requirements pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B). Furthermore, in light of the lack of practical impact, this rule is being made effective upon publication in the Federal Register because it is not a substantive rule and, in any event, there is good cause to find, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), that a 30-day delayed effective date would be impracticable and unnecessary in these circumstances. In accordance with the memorandum of January 20, 2017, from the Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff, entitled ‘‘Regulatory Freeze Pending Review’’, this action delays until March 21, 2017, the effective date of the final rule entitled ‘‘Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act Formula Grant Program’’ published in the Federal Register on January 17, 2017 at 82 FR 4783. The temporary delay in effective date will allow Department of Justice officials an opportunity to review any potential questions of fact, law and policy raised by this regulation, VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:00 Jan 31, 2017 Jkt 241001 consistent with the Chief of Staff’s memorandum of January 20, 2017. Regulatory Certifications Preparation of a Regulatory Flexibility Analysis is not required for this final rule because the agency was not required to publish a general notice of proposed rulemaking. This action is not a significant rulemaking pursuant to Executive Order 12866 and, accordingly, has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget. This rule will not have substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. Therefore, in accordance with Executive Order 13132 ‘‘Federalism’’ it is determined that this rule does not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a Federalism Assessment. This action pertains to agency management and does not substantially affect the rights or obligations of nonagency parties and, accordingly, is not a ‘‘rule’’ as that term is used by the Congressional Review Act, 5 U.S.C. 804(3)(C). Therefore, the reporting requirement of 5 U.S.C. 801 does not apply. Dated: January 27, 2017. Maureen A. Henneberg, Acting Assistant Attorney General, Office of Justice Programs. [FR Doc. 2017–02139 Filed 1–31–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4410–18–P NATIONAL MEDIATION BOARD 29 CFR Part 1208 [Docket No. C–7156] RIN 3140–AA00 Access to Information National Mediation Board. Final rule. AGENCY: ACTION: The National Mediation Board (NMB or Board) revises its Information Access regulations in order to implement the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016, to update certain provisions, and to amend its regulations regarding responding to subpoenas. DATES: This rule is effective February 1, 2017. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mary Johnson, General Counsel, National Mediation Board, 202–692– 5050, legal@nmb.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On June 30, 2016, President Obama signed into SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 8895 law the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016 (Pub. L. 114–185), amending the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552. The law addressed many procedural issues, such as requiring agencies to allow 90 days for requesters to file an administrative appeal and to provide dispute resolution services throughout the FOIA process. This Final Rule incorporates these and other requirements from the FOIA Improvement Act and clarifies and updates language in the NMB’s Information Access Rules. In addition, section 1208.7 provides ‘‘Touhy’’ regulations to address the NMB’s response to subpoenas and other formal requests for information. On November 14, 2016, the NMB published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register inviting public comments for 60 days on the proposed rules. As required by provisions of the Railway Labor Act, the NMB offered interested individuals the opportunity to participate in a public hearing on December 8, 2016. The NMB received only one comment in response to its NPRM. This comment addressed a specific fee provision noted in section 1208.6(c)(2). This fee is not a change in regulations; rather, it is maintaining the duplication fee of 15 cents in effect prior to the NPRM. This fee is in line with other agencies’ fees. In addition, the NMB rarely charges duplication fees for FOIA requests, as most are provided as electronic documents. This Final Rule remains unchanged from the NPRM. This rule is not a significant rule for purposes of Executive Order 12866 and has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget. As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act, the NMB certifies that these regulatory changes will not have a significant impact on small business entities. This rule will not have any significant impact on the quality of the human environment under the National Environmental Policy Act. List of Subjects in 29 CFR Part 1208 Confidential business information, Freedom of information, Information. For the reasons stated in the preamble, the National Mediation Board revises 29 CFR part 1208 to read as follows: PART 1208—AVAILABILITY OF INFORMATION Sec. 1208.1 General provisions. 1208.2 Requests for records or information under the Freedom of Information Act. E:\FR\FM\01FER1.SGM 01FER1 8896 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 20 / Wednesday, February 1, 2017 / Rules and Regulations 1208.3 Proactive disclosure of information. 1208.4 Material relating to representation function. 1208.5 Material relating to mediation function. 1208.6 Fees under the Freedom of Information Act. 1208.7 Subpoenas and other requests for testimony and production of documents in legal proceedings where the NMB is not a party. Authority: 44 Stat. 577, as amended; 45 U.S.C. 151–163. pmangrum on DSK3GDR082PROD with RULES § 1208.1 General provisions. (a) The purpose of this part is to set forth the regulations of the NMB regarding the availability and disclosure of information in its possession and to implement the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). These regulations establish procedures for requesting access to records maintained by the NMB and should be read together with the FOIA, the 1987 Office of Management and Budget Guidelines for FOIA Fees, Executive Order 12,600, and the NMB’s other rules and regulations. (b) Public policy and the successful effectuation of the NMB’s mission require that Board members and the employees of the NMB maintain a reputation for impartiality and integrity. Labor and management and other interested parties participating in mediation efforts must have assurance, as must labor organizations, carriers, and individuals involved in questions of representation, that confidential information disclosed to Board members and employees of the NMB will not be divulged, voluntarily or by compulsion. (c) Notwithstanding this general policy, the Board will under all circumstances endeavor to make public as much information as can be allowed. The Board will withhold information under the FOIA only if it reasonably foresees that disclosure would harm an interest protected by one of the exemptions described in the FOIA or when disclosure is prohibited by law. When full disclosure is not possible, the NMB will consider whether partial disclosure of information is possible and will take necessary steps to segregate and release nonexempt information. (d) The NMB will preserve all correspondence pertaining to requests it receives under the FOIA, as well as copies of all requested records, until disposition or destruction is authorized pursuant to Title 44 of the United States Code or the General Records Schedule 14 of the National Archives and Records Administration. The NMB will not dispose of or destroy records while they VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:00 Jan 31, 2017 Jkt 241001 are the subject of a pending request, appeal, or lawsuit under the FOIA. § 1208.2 Requests for records or information under the Freedom of Information Act. (a) Requests for records. (1) All requests for NMB records shall be filed in writing by emailing FOIA@nmb.gov or mailing the request to the Chief FOIA Officer, National Mediation Board, 1301 K Street NW., Suite 250E, Washington, DC 20005. Additional information about submitting requests is available at www.nmb.gov. Requesters must provide contact information, such as their phone number, email address, and/or mailing address, to assist in communications about the request. (2) The request shall reasonably describe the records being sought in a manner which permits identification and location of the records. To the extent possible, requesters should include specific information that may help the NMB identify the requested records, such as the date, title or name, author, recipient, subject matter, case or file number, or reference number. Before submitting a request, a requester may contact the NMB’s FOIA Public Liaison to discuss the records sought or to receive assistance in describing the records. (3) The request shall include any request for waiver of fees, clearly outlining the reasons for any such request. (4) Requests may specify the preferred form or format (including electronic formats) for the records sought. The NMB will accommodate such requests if the record is readily reproducible in that form or format. (5) Upon receipt of a request for the records, the Chief FOIA Officer shall assign the request a FOIA tracking number and record the date and time received, the name and address of the requester, and the nature of the records requested. If the request will take more than 10 working days to process, the Chief FOIA Officer will acknowledge the request in writing, providing the requester with an individualized tracking number and a brief description of records sought. (6) All time limitations established pursuant to this section with respect to processing initial requests and appeals shall commence at the time a written request for records is received at the Board’s offices in Washington, DC, or via email. (b) Processing the request—(1) Time limits. Within 20 working days after a request for records is received, the Chief FOIA Officer shall determine whether to comply with the request and PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 immediately notify the requester, unless an extension is taken under paragraph (b)(2) of this section. The NMB may make one request for additional information from the requester or clarify a fee issue with the requester and may toll the 20-day period while awaiting receipt of the additional information. (2) Extension of time. In unusual circumstances as specified in this paragraph, the Chief FOIA Officer may extend the time for initial determination on requests up to a total of 10 days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal public holidays). Extensions shall be made by written notice to the requester within 20 working days of receipt of the request and shall set forth the reason for the extension, provide the date on which a determination is expected to be dispatched, and make available the NMB’s Public Liaison to assist with any disputes between the requester and the NMB. Where the extension exceeds 10 working days, the Chief FOIA Officer will notify the requester of the right to seek dispute resolution services from the Office of Government Information Services. As used in this paragraph ‘‘unusual circumstances’’ means, but only to the extent necessary to the proper processing of the request: (i) The need to search for, collect, and appropriately examine a voluminous amount of separate and distinct records which are demanded in a single request; or (ii) The need for consultation, according to the procedures set forth in paragraph (b)(4), with another agency having substantial interest in the determination of the request. (3) Expedited processing. The Chief FOIA Officer shall process a request on an expedited basis whenever a requester demonstrates a compelling need. A request for expedited processing may be made at any time. (i) For purposes of this section, ‘‘compelling need’’ means that a failure to obtain the requested records on an expedited basis could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual or, with respect to a request made by a person primarily engaged in disseminating information, urgency to inform the public concerning actual or alleged Federal Government activity. (ii) The Chief FOIA Officer shall make a determination of whether to provide expedited processing, and notice of the determination shall be provided to the person making the request, within 10 days after the date of the request. (4) Consultations and referrals. (i) When the NMB receives a request for a record (or a portion thereof) in its E:\FR\FM\01FER1.SGM 01FER1 pmangrum on DSK3GDR082PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 20 / Wednesday, February 1, 2017 / Rules and Regulations possession that originated with another federal agency, the Chief FOIA Officer shall refer the request and record to that agency for direct response to the requester. The Chief FOIA Officer will notify the requester of any referral and provide the requester with the name and FOIA contact information of the agency to which the request was referred. (ii) In instances where a record is requested that originated with the NMB and another federal agency has a significant interest in the record (or a portion thereof), the NMB shall consult with that federal agency before responding to a requester. (iii) All consultations and referrals received by the NMB will receive a tracking number and be processed according to the date that the first agency received the request. (5) Requests for business information provided to the NMB. Business information is financial or commercial information obtained by the NMB from a submitter that may be protected from disclosure under Exemption 4 of the FOIA, 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(4). (i) When the NMB has reason to believe that requested information may fall under Exemption 4, it will promptly provide written notice to the submitter. The notice will either describe the requested business information or include a copy of the requested records. The NMB shall provide the submitter with seven days (excepting Saturdays, Sunday, and legal public holidays) to provide a statement of any objection to disclosure. (ii) The NMB will consider the submitter’s objections in deciding whether to disclose business information. If the NMB decides to disclose business information over such objection, it shall provide written notice to the submitter of its reasons for not sustaining the objections, a description of information to be disclosed, and the disclosure date. (iii) Whenever the NMB provides a submitter with notice and the opportunity to object under paragraph (b)(5)(ii) of this section, it shall also inform the requestor that the request is being processed according to these provisions and there may be a subsequent delay in processing. (iv) A submitter of confidential business information must use good faith efforts to designate any portion of its submission that it considers to be protected from disclosure under Exemption 4. These designations expire 10 years after the date of the submission unless the submitter requests and provides justification for a longer designation period. VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:00 Jan 31, 2017 Jkt 241001 (6) Response to requests. Within 20 days (excepting Saturdays, Sunday, and legal public holidays) after the receipt of a request, the requester shall be notified of the determination and the right to seek assistance from the NMB’s FOIA Public Liaison. If the request for records is not granted in full, the final response letter shall also include: (i) A reference to the specific exemption or exemptions under the FOIA authorizing the withholding of the record or parts of the record and a brief explanation of how the exemption applies to the record withheld. (ii) A statement that the denial may be appealed within 90 days by writing to the Chairman, by emailing FOIA@ nmb.gov, or by writing to National Mediation Board, 1301 K Street NW., Suite 250E, Washington, DC 20005, and that judicial review will thereafter be available in the district in which the requester resides, or has his principal place of business, or the district in which Agency records are situated, or the District of Columbia. (iii) A notification of the right to seek dispute resolution services from the Office of Government Information Services. (7) Treatment of delay as a denial. If no determination has been dispatched at the end of the 20-day period, or the last extension thereof, the requester may deem the request denied, and exercise a right of appeal, in accordance with paragraph (c) of this section. When no determination can be dispatched within the applicable time limit, the Chief FOIA Officer shall continue to process the request and shall inform the requester of the reason for the delay, the date on which a determination may be expected to be dispatched, and of the right to treat the delay as a denial and to appeal to the Chairman of the Board in accordance with paragraph (c) of this section. (c) Appeals to the Chairman of the Board. (1) When a request for records has been denied in whole or in part by the Chief FOIA Officer or other person authorized to deny requests, the requester may, within 90 days of its receipt, appeal the denial to the Chairman of the Board. Appeals to the Chairman shall be in writing, addressed to the Chairman, National Mediation Board, Washington, DC 20005 or emailed to FOIA@nmb.gov. (2) The Chairman of the Board will act upon the appeal within 20 working days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal public holidays) of its receipt unless an extension is made under paragraph (c)(3) of this section. (3) In unusual circumstances as defined in paragraph (b)(2) of this PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 8897 section, the time for action on an appeal may be extended up to 10 days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal public holidays). Written notice of such extension shall be made prior to the expiration of the 20-day response period, setting forth the reason for the extension and the date on which a determination is expected to be dispatched. (4) If no determination on the appeal has been dispatched at the end of the 20-day period or the last extension thereof, the requester is deemed to have exhausted administrative remedies, giving rise to a right of review in a district court of the United States, as specified in 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(4). When no determination can be dispatched within the applicable time limit, the appeal will nevertheless continue to be processed; on expiration of the time limit the requester shall be informed of the reason for the delay, of the date on which a determination may be expected to be dispatched, and of a right to seek judicial review in the United States district court in the district in which they reside or have their principal place of business, the district in which the Board records are situated or the District of Columbia. The requester may be asked to forego judicial review until determination of the appeal. § 1208.3 Proactive disclosure of information. The NMB shall, in conformance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(2), maintain and make available for public inspection, by posting on its Web site (unless the Board determines by order published in the Federal Register that such publication would be unnecessary or impracticable) the following information: Final opinions, including concurring and dissenting opinions made in representation cases; statements of policy and interpretation made by the NMB but not published in the Federal Register; administrative staff materials, such as the Representation Manual; frequently requested materials, defined as those released in response to a FOIA request and for which the Agency has received at least three requests or those records that because of the nature of their subject matter the Agency determines are likely to become the subject of subsequent requests; and a general index of records available under this section. § 1208.4 Material relating to representation function. (a) The documents constituting the record of a case, such as the notices of hearing, motions, rulings, findings upon E:\FR\FM\01FER1.SGM 01FER1 8898 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 20 / Wednesday, February 1, 2017 / Rules and Regulations investigation, determinations of craft or class, dismissals, withdrawals, and certifications, are matters of official record and shall be made available on the NMB’s Web site. (b) This part notwithstanding, the NMB will treat as confidential evidence submitted in connection with the showing of interest in a representation dispute, including authorization cards and signature samples, and other personally identifying information received during an investigation. § 1208.5 Material relating to mediation function. All files, reports, letters, memoranda, and documents relating to the mediation function of the NMB, with the exception of procedural or administrative materials, such as applications, docket letters, or public meeting notices, in the custody of the NMB or its employees relating to or acquired in their mediatory capacity under the Railway Labor Act are hereby declared to be confidential. No such confidential documents or the material contained therein shall be disclosed to any unauthorized person, or be taken or withdrawn, copied or removed from the custody of the NMB or its employees by any person or by any agent of such person or their representative without the explicit consent of the NMB. pmangrum on DSK3GDR082PROD with RULES § 1208.6 Fees under the Freedom of Information Act. (a) In general. The NMB will charge for processing requests under the FOIA in accordance with the provisions of this section and with Office of Management and Budget Guidelines. For purposes of assessing fees, the FOIA establishes three categories of requesters: Commercial use requesters, non-commercial scientific or educational institutions or news media requesters, and all other requesters. Different fees are assessed depending on the category. Requesters may seek a fee waiver. The NMB will consider requests for fee waivers in accordance with the requirements in paragraph (k) of this section. To resolve any fee issues that arise under this section, the NMB may contact a requester for additional information. The NMB ordinarily will collect all applicable fees before sending copies of records to a requester. Requesters must pay fees by check or money order made payable to the United States Treasury. (b) Definitions. For purposes of this section: Commercial use request is a request that asks for information for a use or a purpose that furthers a commercial, trade, or profit interest, which can VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:00 Jan 31, 2017 Jkt 241001 include furthering those interests through litigation. An agency’s decision to place a requester in the commercial use category will be made on a case-bycase basis based on the requester’s intended use of the information. The NMB will notify requesters of their placement in this category. Direct costs are those expenses that an agency incurs in searching for and duplicating (and, in the case of commercial use requests, reviewing) records in order to respond to a FOIA request. For example, direct costs include the salary of the employee performing the work (i.e., the basic rate of pay for the employee, plus 16 percent of that rate to cover benefits) and the cost of operating computers and other electronic equipment, such as photocopiers and scanners. Direct costs do not include overhead expenses such as the costs of space, and of heating or lighting a facility. Duplication is reproducing a copy of a record, or of the information contained in it, necessary to respond to a FOIA request. Copies can take the form of paper, audiovisual materials, or electronic records, among others. Educational institution is any school that operates a program of scholarly research. A requester in this fee category must show that the request is made in connection with his or her role at the educational institution. Agencies may seek verification from the requester that the request is in furtherance of scholarly research, and agencies will advise requesters of their placement in this category. Noncommercial scientific institution is an institution that is not operated on a ‘‘commercial’’ basis, as defined in this paragraph (b) and that is operated solely for the purpose of conducting scientific research the results of which are not intended to promote any particular product or industry. A requester in this category must show that the request is authorized by and is made under the auspices of a qualifying institution and that the records are sought to further scientific research and are not for a commercial use. The NMB will advise requesters of their placement in this category. Representative of the news media is any person or entity that gathers information of potential interest to a segment of the public, uses its editorial skills to turn the raw materials into a distinct work, and distributes that work to an audience. The term ‘‘news’’ means information that is about current events or that would be of current interest to the public. Examples of news media entities include television or radio stations that broadcast ‘‘news’’ to the PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 public at large and publishers of periodicals that disseminate ‘‘news’’ and make their products available through a variety of means to the general public, including news organizations that disseminate solely on the Internet. A request for records supporting the news-dissemination function of the requester will not be considered to be for a commercial use. ‘‘Freelance’’ journalists who demonstrate a solid basis for expecting publication through a news media entity will be considered as a representative of the news media. A publishing contract would provide the clearest evidence that publication is expected; however, agencies can also consider a requester’s past publication record in making this determination. The NMB will advise requesters of their placement in this category. Review is the examination of a record located in response to a request in order to determine whether any portion of it is exempt from disclosure. Review time includes processing any record for disclosure, such as doing all that is necessary to prepare the record for disclosure, including the process of redacting the record and marking the appropriate exemptions. Review costs are properly charged even if a record ultimately is not disclosed. Review time also includes time spent both obtaining and considering any formal objection to disclosure made by a confidential business information submitter under § 1208.2(b)(5), but it does not include time spent resolving general legal or policy issues regarding the application of exemptions. Search is the process of looking for and retrieving records or information responsive to a request. Search time includes page-by-page or line-by-line identification of information within records and the reasonable efforts expended to locate and retrieve information from electronic records. (c) Charging fees. In responding to FOIA requests, the NMB will charge the following fees unless a waiver or reduction of fees has been granted under paragraph (k) of this section. Because the fee amounts provided below already account for the direct costs associated with a given fee type, the NMB will not add any additional costs to charges calculated under this section. (1) Search. (i) Requests made by educational institutions, noncommercial scientific institutions, or representatives of the news media are not subject to search fees. The NMB will charge search fees for all other requesters, subject to the restrictions of paragraph (d) of this section. The NMB may properly charge for time spent searching even if it does E:\FR\FM\01FER1.SGM 01FER1 pmangrum on DSK3GDR082PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 20 / Wednesday, February 1, 2017 / Rules and Regulations not locate any responsive records or determines that the records are entirely exempt from disclosure. (ii) For each quarter hour spent by personnel searching for requested records, including electronic searches that do not require new programming, direct costs will be charged. (iii) The NMB will also charge direct costs associated with conducting any search that requires the creation of a new computer program to locate the requested records. The NMB will notify the requester of the costs associated with creating such a program, and the requester must agree to pay the associated costs before the costs may be incurred. (2) Duplication. The NMB will charge duplication fees to all requesters, subject to the restrictions of paragraph (d) of this section. The NMB will honor a requester’s preference for receiving a record in a particular form or format where it can readily reproduce it in the form or format requested. Where photocopies are supplied, the NMB will provide one copy per request at the cost of 15 cents per page. For copies of records produced on tapes, disks, or other media, the NMB will charge the direct costs of producing the copy, including operator time. Where paper documents must be scanned in order to comply with a requester’s preference to receive the records in an electronic format, the requester must also pay the direct costs associated with scanning those materials. For other forms of duplication, the NMB will charge the direct costs. (3) Review. The NMB will charge review fees to requesters who make commercial use requests. Review fees will be assessed in connection with the initial review of the record, i.e., the review conducted by the NMB to determine whether an exemption applies to a particular record or portion of a record. No charge will be made for review at the administrative appeal stage of exemptions applied at the initial review stage. However, if a particular exemption is deemed to no longer apply, any costs associated with the re-review of the records in order to consider the use of other exemptions may be assessed as review fees. Review fees will be charged at the same rates as those charged for a search under paragraph (c)(1)(ii) of this section. (d) Restrictions on charging fees. (1) When the NMB determines that a requester is an educational institution, non-commercial scientific institution, or representative of the news media, and the records are not sought for commercial use, it will not charge search fees. VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:00 Jan 31, 2017 Jkt 241001 (2)(i) If the NMB fails to comply with the time limits described in section 1208.2(b)(1) in which to respond to a request, it may not charge search fees, or, in the instances of requests from requesters described in paragraph (d)(1) of this section, may not charge duplication fees, except as described in paragraph (d)(2)(ii) through (iv) of this section. (ii) If the NMB has determined that unusual circumstances as defined in section 1208.2(b)(2) apply and the NMB provided timely written notice to the requester in accordance with that section, a failure to comply with the time limit shall be excused for an additional 10 days. (iii) If the NMB has determined that unusual circumstances apply and more than 5,000 pages are necessary to respond to the request, the NMB may charge search fees, or, in the case of requesters described in paragraph (d)(1) of this section, may charge duplication fees, if the following steps are taken. The NMB must have provided timely written notice of unusual circumstances to the requester in accordance with the FOIA and must have discussed with the requester via written mail, email, or telephone (or made not less than three good-faith attempts to do so) how the requester could effectively limit the scope of the request in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(6)(B)(ii). If this exception is satisfied, the NMB may charge all applicable fees incurred in the processing of the request. (iv) If a court has determined that exceptional circumstances exist, as defined by the FOIA, a failure to comply with the time limits shall be excused for the length of time provided by the court order. (3) No search or review fees will be charged for a quarter-hour period unless more than half of that period is required for search or review. (4) Except for requesters seeking records for a commercial use, the NMB will provide without charge: (i) The first 100 pages of duplication (or the cost equivalent for other media); and (ii) The first two hours of search. (5) No fee will be charged when the total fee, after deducting the 100 free pages (or its cost equivalent) and the first two hours of search, is equal to or less than $25. (e) Notice of anticipated fees in excess of $25.00. (1) When the NMB determines or estimates that the fees to be assessed in accordance with this section will exceed $25.00, the Agency must notify the requester of the actual or estimated amount of the fees, including a breakdown of the fees for PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 8899 search, review or duplication, unless the requester has indicated a willingness to pay fees as high as those anticipated. If only a portion of the fee can be estimated readily, the NMB will advise the requester accordingly. If the request is not for noncommercial use, the notice will specify that the requester is entitled to the statutory entitlements of 100 pages of duplication at no charge and, if the requester is charged search fees, two hours of search time at no charge, and will advise the requester whether those entitlements have been provided. (2) If the NMB notifies the requester that the actual or estimated fees are in excess of $25.00, the request will not be considered received and further work will not be completed until the requester commits in writing to pay the actual or estimated total fee, or designates some amount of fees the requester is willing to pay, or in the case of a noncommercial use requester who has not yet been provided with the requester’s statutory entitlements, designates that the requester seeks only that which can be provided by the statutory entitlements. The requester must provide the commitment or designation in writing, and must, when applicable, designate an exact dollar amount the requester is willing to pay. The NMB is not required to accept payments in installments. (3) If the requester has indicated a willingness to pay some designated amount of fees, but the NMB estimates that the total fee will exceed that amount, it will toll the processing of the request when it notifies the requester of the estimated fees in excess of the amount the requester has indicated a willingness to pay. The NMB will inquire whether the requester wishes to revise the amount of fees the requester is willing to pay or modify the request. Once the requester responds, the time to respond will resume from where it was at the date of the notification. (4) The NMB will make available its FOIA Public Liaison or other FOIA professional to assist any requester in reformulating a request to meet the requester’s needs at a lower cost. (f) Charges for other services. Although not required to provide special services, if the NMB chooses to do so as a matter of administrative discretion, the direct costs of providing the service will be charged. Examples of such services include certifying that records are true copies, providing multiple copies of the same document, or sending records by means other than first class mail. (g) Charging interest. The NMB may charge interest on any unpaid bill starting on the 31st day following the E:\FR\FM\01FER1.SGM 01FER1 pmangrum on DSK3GDR082PROD with RULES 8900 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 20 / Wednesday, February 1, 2017 / Rules and Regulations date of billing the requester. Interest charges will be assessed at the rate provided in 31 U.S.C. 3717 and will accrue from the billing date until payment is received by the Agency. The NMB will follow the provisions of the Debt Collection Act of 1982 (Pub. L. 97– 365, 96 Stat. 1749), as amended, and its administrative procedures, including the use of consumer reporting agencies, collection agencies, and offset. (h) Aggregating requests. When the NMB reasonably believes that a requester or a group of requesters acting in concert is attempting to divide a single request into a series of requests for the purpose of avoiding fees, it may aggregate those requests and charge accordingly. The NMB may presume that multiple requests of this type made within a 30-day period have been made in order to avoid fees. For requests separated by a longer period, the NMB will aggregate them only where there is a reasonable basis for determining that aggregation is warranted in view of all the circumstances involved. Multiple requests involving unrelated matters cannot be aggregated. (i) Advance payments. (1) For requests other than those described in paragraphs (i)(2) or (i)(3) of this section, the NMB will not require the requester to make an advance payment before work is commenced or continued on a request. Payment owed for work already completed (i.e., payment before copies are sent to a requester) is not an advance payment. (2) When the NMB determines or estimates that a total fee to be charged under this section will exceed $250.00, it may require that the requester make an advance payment up to the amount of the entire anticipated fee before beginning to process the request. The NMB may elect to process the request prior to collecting fees when it receives a satisfactory assurance of full payment from a requester with a history of prompt payment. (3) Where a requester has previously failed to pay a properly charged FOIA fee within 30 calendar days of the billing date, the NMB may require that the requester pay the full amount due, plus any applicable interest on that prior request, and it may require that the requester make an advance payment of the full amount of any anticipated fee before beginning to process a new request or continuing to process a pending request or any pending appeal. Where the NMB has a reasonable basis to believe that a requester has misrepresented the requester’s identity in order to avoid paying outstanding fees, it may require that the requester provide proof of identity. VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:00 Jan 31, 2017 Jkt 241001 (4) In cases in which the NMB requires advance payment, the request will not be considered received and further work will not be completed until the required payment is received. If the requester does not pay the advance payment within 30 calendar days after the date of the fee determination, the request will be closed. (j) Other statutes specifically providing for fees. The fee schedule of this section does not apply to fees charged under any statute that specifically requires the NMB to set and collect fees for particular types of records. In instances where records responsive to a request are subject to a statutorily-based fee schedule program, the NMB must inform the requester of the contact information for that program. (k) Requirements for waiver or reduction of fees. (1) Requesters may seek a waiver of fees by submitting a written application demonstrating how disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester. (2) The NMB will furnish records responsive to a request without charge or at a reduced rate when it determines, based on all available information, that the factors described in paragraphs (k)(2)(i) through (iii) of this section are satisfied: (i) Disclosure of the requested information would shed light on the operations or activities of the government. The subject of the request must concern identifiable operations or activities of the Federal Government with a connection that is direct and clear, not remote or attenuated. (ii) Disclosure of the requested information is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of those operations or activities. This factor is satisfied when the following criteria are met: (A) Disclosure of the requested records must be meaningfully informative about government operations or activities. The disclosure of information that already is in the public domain, in either the same or a substantially identical form, would not be meaningfully informative if nothing new would be added to the public’s understanding. (B) The disclosure must contribute to the understanding of a reasonably broad audience of persons interested in the subject, as opposed to the individual understanding of the requester. A requester’s expertise in the subject area PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 as well as the requester’s ability and intention to effectively convey information to the public must be considered. Agencies will presume that a representative of the news media will satisfy this consideration. (iii) The disclosure must not be primarily in the commercial interest of the requester. To determine whether disclosure of the requested information is primarily in the commercial interest of the requester, agencies will consider the following criteria: (A) The NMB will identify whether the requester has any commercial interest that would be furthered by the requested disclosure. A commercial interest includes any commercial, trade, or profit interest. Requesters must be given an opportunity to provide explanatory information regarding this consideration. (B) If there is an identified commercial interest, the NMB must determine whether that is the primary interest furthered by the request. A waiver or reduction of fees is justified when the requirements of paragraphs (k)(2)(i) and (ii) of this section are satisfied and any commercial interest is not the primary interest furthered by the request. The NMB will presume that when a news media requester has satisfied the factors in paragraphs (k)(2)(i) and (ii) of this section, the request is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester. Disclosure to data brokers or others who merely compile and market government information for direct economic return will not be presumed to primarily serve the public interest. (3) Where only some of the records to be released satisfy the requirements for a waiver of fees, a waiver will be granted for those records. (4) Requests for a waiver or reduction of fees should be made when the request is first submitted and should address the criteria referenced above. A requester may submit a fee waiver request at a later time so long as the underlying record request is pending or on administrative appeal. When a requester who has committed to pay fees subsequently asks for a waiver of those fees and that waiver is denied, the requester must pay any costs incurred up to the date the fee waiver request was received. § 1208.7 Subpoenas and other requests for testimony and production of documents in legal proceedings where the NMB is not a party. (a) In legal proceedings between private litigants, a subpoena or other demand for the production of records held by the Agency or for oral or written E:\FR\FM\01FER1.SGM 01FER1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 20 / Wednesday, February 1, 2017 / Rules and Regulations testimony of a current or former NMB employee should be addressed to the General Counsel, National Mediation Board, 1301 K Street NW., Suite 250E, Washington, DC 20005. No other official or employee of the NMB is authorized to accept service of a demand or subpoena on behalf of the Agency. (b) No current or former employee may produce official records or information or provide testimony in response to a demand or subpoena unless authorized by the General Counsel. (c) The General Counsel may grant an employee permission to testify or produce official records or information in response to a demand or subpoena. In making this determination, the General Counsel shall consider whether: (1) Release of the requested records or testimony is prohibited under § 1208.5; (2) The disclosure is appropriate under the rules of procedure governing the case or matter; (3) The requested testimony or records are privileged under the relevant substantive law concerning privilege; (4) Disclosure would violate a statute or regulation; (5) Disclosure would reveal trade secrets without the owner’s consent; and (6) Allowing testimony or production of records would be in the best interest of the NMB or the United States. Dated: January 27, 2017. Mary Johnson, General Counsel, National Mediation Board. [FR Doc. 2017–02103 Filed 1–31–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7550–01–P DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Occupational Safety and Health Administration 29 CFR Parts 1910, 1915, and 1926 [Docket No. OSHA–H005C–2006–0870] RIN 1218–AB76 Occupational Exposure to Beryllium: Delay of Effective Date Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Department of Labor. ACTION: Final rule; delay of effective date. pmangrum on DSK3GDR082PROD with RULES AGENCY: In accordance with the Presidential directive as expressed in the memorandum of January 20, 2017, from the Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff, entitled ‘‘Regulatory SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:00 Jan 31, 2017 Jkt 241001 Freeze Pending Review,’’ this action temporarily delays until March 21, 2017 the effective date of the rule entitled Occupational Exposure to Beryllium, published in the Federal Register on January 9, 2017 (82 FR 2470), to allow OSHA officials the opportunity for further review and consideration of new regulations. DATES: This regulation is effective on February 1, 2017. The effective date of the regulation entitled Occupational Exposure to Beryllium published in the Federal Register on January 9, 2017 (82 FR 2470) is delayed to a new effective date of March 21, 2017. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Frank Meilinger, Director, Office of Communications, Room N–3647, OSHA, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone (202) 693–1999; email meilinger.francis2@dol.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: OSHA bases this action on the Presidential directive as expressed in the memorandum of January 20, 2017, from the Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff, entitled ‘‘Regulatory Freeze Pending Review.’’ (82 FR 8346 (January 24, 2017)). That memorandum directed the heads of Executive Departments and Agencies to temporarily postpone for 60 days from the date of the memorandum the effective dates of all regulations that had been published in the Federal Register but had not yet taken effect. The memorandum also noted certain exceptions that do not apply here. OSHA is therefore delaying the effective date for the rule entitled ‘‘Occupational Exposure to Beryllium’’ to March 21, 2017. The Agency’s implementation of this action without opportunity for public comment is based on the good cause exception in 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), in that seeking public comment is impracticable, unnecessary and contrary to the public interest. The temporary delay in effective date until March 21, 2017, will give Agency officials the opportunity for review and consideration of new regulations, as required by the memorandum of the Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff, dated January 20, 2017. Given the imminence of this effective date, seeking prior public comment on this temporary delay would have been impractical, as well as contrary to the public interest in the orderly promulgation and implementation of regulations. In addition, since the Occupational Exposure to Beryllium rule would not have taken effect until March 10, 2017, as a practical matter the new effective date for this regulation PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 8901 would extend by only 11 days the original effective date. Thus, the good cause exception in 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) applies to OSHA’s decision to extend the effective date of the beryllium rule without first going through notice and comment. This extension of the effective date will not impact the compliance dates of the Beryllium rule. In taking this action, the Agency also invokes the good cause exception in 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), which allows the action to be immediately effective for ‘‘good cause’’ rather than subject to the requirement in the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553(d)) that a minimum of 30 days is required before a rule may become effective. The nature of this action, which is to extend by 11 days a final rule that otherwise becomes effective on March 10, 2017, makes it unnecessary and impractical to delay the effectiveness of this action by 30 days. Signed at Washington, DC, on January 26, 2017. Dorothy Dougherty, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health. [FR Doc. 2017–02149 Filed 1–31–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4510–26–P NATIONAL ARCHIVES AND RECORDS ADMINISTRATION 36 CFR Part 1250 [FDMS No. NARA–17–0001; Agency No. NARA–2017–019] RIN 3095–AB93 NARA Records Subject to FOIA National Archives and Records Administration. ACTION: Direct final rule. AGENCY: We are amending our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) regulations on access to NARA’s archival holdings and our operational records to make them consistent with the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016, and a few small administrative changes to remain current. The rule affects individuals and organizations that file FOIA requests for access to NARA operational records and archival holdings. SUMMARY: This rule is effective on March 3, 2017 without further notice, unless we receive adverse written comment by February 21, 2017. If we receive such comments, we will withdraw the rule. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kimberly Keravuori, by telephone at 301–837–3151, by email at regulation_ DATES: E:\FR\FM\01FER1.SGM 01FER1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 20 (Wednesday, February 1, 2017)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 8895-8901]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-02103]


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NATIONAL MEDIATION BOARD

29 CFR Part 1208

[Docket No. C-7156]
RIN 3140-AA00


Access to Information

AGENCY: National Mediation Board.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: The National Mediation Board (NMB or Board) revises its 
Information Access regulations in order to implement the FOIA 
Improvement Act of 2016, to update certain provisions, and to amend its 
regulations regarding responding to subpoenas.

DATES: This rule is effective February 1, 2017.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mary Johnson, General Counsel, 
National Mediation Board, 202-692-5050, legal@nmb.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On June 30, 2016, President Obama signed 
into law the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016 (Pub. L. 114-185), amending 
the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552. The law addressed 
many procedural issues, such as requiring agencies to allow 90 days for 
requesters to file an administrative appeal and to provide dispute 
resolution services throughout the FOIA process. This Final Rule 
incorporates these and other requirements from the FOIA Improvement Act 
and clarifies and updates language in the NMB's Information Access 
Rules. In addition, section 1208.7 provides ``Touhy'' regulations to 
address the NMB's response to subpoenas and other formal requests for 
information.
    On November 14, 2016, the NMB published a Notice of Proposed 
Rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register inviting public comments for 
60 days on the proposed rules. As required by provisions of the Railway 
Labor Act, the NMB offered interested individuals the opportunity to 
participate in a public hearing on December 8, 2016.
    The NMB received only one comment in response to its NPRM. This 
comment addressed a specific fee provision noted in section 
1208.6(c)(2). This fee is not a change in regulations; rather, it is 
maintaining the duplication fee of 15 cents in effect prior to the 
NPRM. This fee is in line with other agencies' fees. In addition, the 
NMB rarely charges duplication fees for FOIA requests, as most are 
provided as electronic documents. This Final Rule remains unchanged 
from the NPRM.
    This rule is not a significant rule for purposes of Executive Order 
12866 and has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget. 
As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act, the NMB certifies that 
these regulatory changes will not have a significant impact on small 
business entities. This rule will not have any significant impact on 
the quality of the human environment under the National Environmental 
Policy Act.

List of Subjects in 29 CFR Part 1208

    Confidential business information, Freedom of information, 
Information.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, the National Mediation 
Board revises 29 CFR part 1208 to read as follows:

PART 1208--AVAILABILITY OF INFORMATION

Sec.
1208.1 General provisions.
1208.2 Requests for records or information under the Freedom of 
Information Act.

[[Page 8896]]

1208.3 Proactive disclosure of information.
1208.4 Material relating to representation function.
1208.5 Material relating to mediation function.
1208.6 Fees under the Freedom of Information Act.
1208.7 Subpoenas and other requests for testimony and production of 
documents in legal proceedings where the NMB is not a party.


    Authority: 44 Stat. 577, as amended; 45 U.S.C. 151-163.


Sec.  1208.1  General provisions.

    (a) The purpose of this part is to set forth the regulations of the 
NMB regarding the availability and disclosure of information in its 
possession and to implement the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). 
These regulations establish procedures for requesting access to records 
maintained by the NMB and should be read together with the FOIA, the 
1987 Office of Management and Budget Guidelines for FOIA Fees, 
Executive Order 12,600, and the NMB's other rules and regulations.
    (b) Public policy and the successful effectuation of the NMB's 
mission require that Board members and the employees of the NMB 
maintain a reputation for impartiality and integrity. Labor and 
management and other interested parties participating in mediation 
efforts must have assurance, as must labor organizations, carriers, and 
individuals involved in questions of representation, that confidential 
information disclosed to Board members and employees of the NMB will 
not be divulged, voluntarily or by compulsion.
    (c) Notwithstanding this general policy, the Board will under all 
circumstances endeavor to make public as much information as can be 
allowed. The Board will withhold information under the FOIA only if it 
reasonably foresees that disclosure would harm an interest protected by 
one of the exemptions described in the FOIA or when disclosure is 
prohibited by law. When full disclosure is not possible, the NMB will 
consider whether partial disclosure of information is possible and will 
take necessary steps to segregate and release nonexempt information.
    (d) The NMB will preserve all correspondence pertaining to requests 
it receives under the FOIA, as well as copies of all requested records, 
until disposition or destruction is authorized pursuant to Title 44 of 
the United States Code or the General Records Schedule 14 of the 
National Archives and Records Administration. The NMB will not dispose 
of or destroy records while they are the subject of a pending request, 
appeal, or lawsuit under the FOIA.


Sec.  1208.2  Requests for records or information under the Freedom of 
Information Act.

    (a) Requests for records. (1) All requests for NMB records shall be 
filed in writing by emailing FOIA@nmb.gov or mailing the request to the 
Chief FOIA Officer, National Mediation Board, 1301 K Street NW., Suite 
250E, Washington, DC 20005. Additional information about submitting 
requests is available at www.nmb.gov. Requesters must provide contact 
information, such as their phone number, email address, and/or mailing 
address, to assist in communications about the request.
    (2) The request shall reasonably describe the records being sought 
in a manner which permits identification and location of the records. 
To the extent possible, requesters should include specific information 
that may help the NMB identify the requested records, such as the date, 
title or name, author, recipient, subject matter, case or file number, 
or reference number. Before submitting a request, a requester may 
contact the NMB's FOIA Public Liaison to discuss the records sought or 
to receive assistance in describing the records.
    (3) The request shall include any request for waiver of fees, 
clearly outlining the reasons for any such request.
    (4) Requests may specify the preferred form or format (including 
electronic formats) for the records sought. The NMB will accommodate 
such requests if the record is readily reproducible in that form or 
format.
    (5) Upon receipt of a request for the records, the Chief FOIA 
Officer shall assign the request a FOIA tracking number and record the 
date and time received, the name and address of the requester, and the 
nature of the records requested. If the request will take more than 10 
working days to process, the Chief FOIA Officer will acknowledge the 
request in writing, providing the requester with an individualized 
tracking number and a brief description of records sought.
    (6) All time limitations established pursuant to this section with 
respect to processing initial requests and appeals shall commence at 
the time a written request for records is received at the Board's 
offices in Washington, DC, or via email.
    (b) Processing the request--(1) Time limits. Within 20 working days 
after a request for records is received, the Chief FOIA Officer shall 
determine whether to comply with the request and immediately notify the 
requester, unless an extension is taken under paragraph (b)(2) of this 
section. The NMB may make one request for additional information from 
the requester or clarify a fee issue with the requester and may toll 
the 20-day period while awaiting receipt of the additional information.
    (2) Extension of time. In unusual circumstances as specified in 
this paragraph, the Chief FOIA Officer may extend the time for initial 
determination on requests up to a total of 10 days (excluding 
Saturdays, Sundays, and legal public holidays). Extensions shall be 
made by written notice to the requester within 20 working days of 
receipt of the request and shall set forth the reason for the 
extension, provide the date on which a determination is expected to be 
dispatched, and make available the NMB's Public Liaison to assist with 
any disputes between the requester and the NMB. Where the extension 
exceeds 10 working days, the Chief FOIA Officer will notify the 
requester of the right to seek dispute resolution services from the 
Office of Government Information Services. As used in this paragraph 
``unusual circumstances'' means, but only to the extent necessary to 
the proper processing of the request:
    (i) The need to search for, collect, and appropriately examine a 
voluminous amount of separate and distinct records which are demanded 
in a single request; or
    (ii) The need for consultation, according to the procedures set 
forth in paragraph (b)(4), with another agency having substantial 
interest in the determination of the request.
    (3) Expedited processing. The Chief FOIA Officer shall process a 
request on an expedited basis whenever a requester demonstrates a 
compelling need. A request for expedited processing may be made at any 
time.
    (i) For purposes of this section, ``compelling need'' means that a 
failure to obtain the requested records on an expedited basis could 
reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or 
physical safety of an individual or, with respect to a request made by 
a person primarily engaged in disseminating information, urgency to 
inform the public concerning actual or alleged Federal Government 
activity.
    (ii) The Chief FOIA Officer shall make a determination of whether 
to provide expedited processing, and notice of the determination shall 
be provided to the person making the request, within 10 days after the 
date of the request.
    (4) Consultations and referrals. (i) When the NMB receives a 
request for a record (or a portion thereof) in its

[[Page 8897]]

possession that originated with another federal agency, the Chief FOIA 
Officer shall refer the request and record to that agency for direct 
response to the requester. The Chief FOIA Officer will notify the 
requester of any referral and provide the requester with the name and 
FOIA contact information of the agency to which the request was 
referred.
    (ii) In instances where a record is requested that originated with 
the NMB and another federal agency has a significant interest in the 
record (or a portion thereof), the NMB shall consult with that federal 
agency before responding to a requester.
    (iii) All consultations and referrals received by the NMB will 
receive a tracking number and be processed according to the date that 
the first agency received the request.
    (5) Requests for business information provided to the NMB. Business 
information is financial or commercial information obtained by the NMB 
from a submitter that may be protected from disclosure under Exemption 
4 of the FOIA, 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(4).
    (i) When the NMB has reason to believe that requested information 
may fall under Exemption 4, it will promptly provide written notice to 
the submitter. The notice will either describe the requested business 
information or include a copy of the requested records. The NMB shall 
provide the submitter with seven days (excepting Saturdays, Sunday, and 
legal public holidays) to provide a statement of any objection to 
disclosure.
    (ii) The NMB will consider the submitter's objections in deciding 
whether to disclose business information. If the NMB decides to 
disclose business information over such objection, it shall provide 
written notice to the submitter of its reasons for not sustaining the 
objections, a description of information to be disclosed, and the 
disclosure date.
    (iii) Whenever the NMB provides a submitter with notice and the 
opportunity to object under paragraph (b)(5)(ii) of this section, it 
shall also inform the requestor that the request is being processed 
according to these provisions and there may be a subsequent delay in 
processing.
    (iv) A submitter of confidential business information must use good 
faith efforts to designate any portion of its submission that it 
considers to be protected from disclosure under Exemption 4. These 
designations expire 10 years after the date of the submission unless 
the submitter requests and provides justification for a longer 
designation period.
    (6) Response to requests. Within 20 days (excepting Saturdays, 
Sunday, and legal public holidays) after the receipt of a request, the 
requester shall be notified of the determination and the right to seek 
assistance from the NMB's FOIA Public Liaison. If the request for 
records is not granted in full, the final response letter shall also 
include:
    (i) A reference to the specific exemption or exemptions under the 
FOIA authorizing the withholding of the record or parts of the record 
and a brief explanation of how the exemption applies to the record 
withheld.
    (ii) A statement that the denial may be appealed within 90 days by 
writing to the Chairman, by emailing FOIA@nmb.gov, or by writing to 
National Mediation Board, 1301 K Street NW., Suite 250E, Washington, DC 
20005, and that judicial review will thereafter be available in the 
district in which the requester resides, or has his principal place of 
business, or the district in which Agency records are situated, or the 
District of Columbia.
    (iii) A notification of the right to seek dispute resolution 
services from the Office of Government Information Services.
    (7) Treatment of delay as a denial. If no determination has been 
dispatched at the end of the 20-day period, or the last extension 
thereof, the requester may deem the request denied, and exercise a 
right of appeal, in accordance with paragraph (c) of this section. When 
no determination can be dispatched within the applicable time limit, 
the Chief FOIA Officer shall continue to process the request and shall 
inform the requester of the reason for the delay, the date on which a 
determination may be expected to be dispatched, and of the right to 
treat the delay as a denial and to appeal to the Chairman of the Board 
in accordance with paragraph (c) of this section.
    (c) Appeals to the Chairman of the Board. (1) When a request for 
records has been denied in whole or in part by the Chief FOIA Officer 
or other person authorized to deny requests, the requester may, within 
90 days of its receipt, appeal the denial to the Chairman of the Board. 
Appeals to the Chairman shall be in writing, addressed to the Chairman, 
National Mediation Board, Washington, DC 20005 or emailed to 
FOIA@nmb.gov.
    (2) The Chairman of the Board will act upon the appeal within 20 
working days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal public holidays) 
of its receipt unless an extension is made under paragraph (c)(3) of 
this section.
    (3) In unusual circumstances as defined in paragraph (b)(2) of this 
section, the time for action on an appeal may be extended up to 10 days 
(excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal public holidays). Written 
notice of such extension shall be made prior to the expiration of the 
20-day response period, setting forth the reason for the extension and 
the date on which a determination is expected to be dispatched.
    (4) If no determination on the appeal has been dispatched at the 
end of the 20-day period or the last extension thereof, the requester 
is deemed to have exhausted administrative remedies, giving rise to a 
right of review in a district court of the United States, as specified 
in 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(4). When no determination can be dispatched within 
the applicable time limit, the appeal will nevertheless continue to be 
processed; on expiration of the time limit the requester shall be 
informed of the reason for the delay, of the date on which a 
determination may be expected to be dispatched, and of a right to seek 
judicial review in the United States district court in the district in 
which they reside or have their principal place of business, the 
district in which the Board records are situated or the District of 
Columbia. The requester may be asked to forego judicial review until 
determination of the appeal.


Sec.  1208.3  Proactive disclosure of information.

    The NMB shall, in conformance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(2), maintain and 
make available for public inspection, by posting on its Web site 
(unless the Board determines by order published in the Federal Register 
that such publication would be unnecessary or impracticable) the 
following information: Final opinions, including concurring and 
dissenting opinions made in representation cases; statements of policy 
and interpretation made by the NMB but not published in the Federal 
Register; administrative staff materials, such as the Representation 
Manual; frequently requested materials, defined as those released in 
response to a FOIA request and for which the Agency has received at 
least three requests or those records that because of the nature of 
their subject matter the Agency determines are likely to become the 
subject of subsequent requests; and a general index of records 
available under this section.


 Sec.  1208.4  Material relating to representation function.

    (a) The documents constituting the record of a case, such as the 
notices of hearing, motions, rulings, findings upon

[[Page 8898]]

investigation, determinations of craft or class, dismissals, 
withdrawals, and certifications, are matters of official record and 
shall be made available on the NMB's Web site.
    (b) This part notwithstanding, the NMB will treat as confidential 
evidence submitted in connection with the showing of interest in a 
representation dispute, including authorization cards and signature 
samples, and other personally identifying information received during 
an investigation.


Sec.  1208.5   Material relating to mediation function.

    All files, reports, letters, memoranda, and documents relating to 
the mediation function of the NMB, with the exception of procedural or 
administrative materials, such as applications, docket letters, or 
public meeting notices, in the custody of the NMB or its employees 
relating to or acquired in their mediatory capacity under the Railway 
Labor Act are hereby declared to be confidential. No such confidential 
documents or the material contained therein shall be disclosed to any 
unauthorized person, or be taken or withdrawn, copied or removed from 
the custody of the NMB or its employees by any person or by any agent 
of such person or their representative without the explicit consent of 
the NMB.


Sec.  1208.6  Fees under the Freedom of Information Act.

    (a) In general. The NMB will charge for processing requests under 
the FOIA in accordance with the provisions of this section and with 
Office of Management and Budget Guidelines. For purposes of assessing 
fees, the FOIA establishes three categories of requesters: Commercial 
use requesters, non-commercial scientific or educational institutions 
or news media requesters, and all other requesters. Different fees are 
assessed depending on the category. Requesters may seek a fee waiver. 
The NMB will consider requests for fee waivers in accordance with the 
requirements in paragraph (k) of this section. To resolve any fee 
issues that arise under this section, the NMB may contact a requester 
for additional information. The NMB ordinarily will collect all 
applicable fees before sending copies of records to a requester. 
Requesters must pay fees by check or money order made payable to the 
United States Treasury.
    (b) Definitions. For purposes of this section:
    Commercial use request is a request that asks for information for a 
use or a purpose that furthers a commercial, trade, or profit interest, 
which can include furthering those interests through litigation. An 
agency's decision to place a requester in the commercial use category 
will be made on a case-by-case basis based on the requester's intended 
use of the information. The NMB will notify requesters of their 
placement in this category.
    Direct costs are those expenses that an agency incurs in searching 
for and duplicating (and, in the case of commercial use requests, 
reviewing) records in order to respond to a FOIA request. For example, 
direct costs include the salary of the employee performing the work 
(i.e., the basic rate of pay for the employee, plus 16 percent of that 
rate to cover benefits) and the cost of operating computers and other 
electronic equipment, such as photocopiers and scanners. Direct costs 
do not include overhead expenses such as the costs of space, and of 
heating or lighting a facility.
    Duplication is reproducing a copy of a record, or of the 
information contained in it, necessary to respond to a FOIA request. 
Copies can take the form of paper, audiovisual materials, or electronic 
records, among others.
    Educational institution is any school that operates a program of 
scholarly research. A requester in this fee category must show that the 
request is made in connection with his or her role at the educational 
institution. Agencies may seek verification from the requester that the 
request is in furtherance of scholarly research, and agencies will 
advise requesters of their placement in this category.
    Noncommercial scientific institution is an institution that is not 
operated on a ``commercial'' basis, as defined in this paragraph (b) 
and that is operated solely for the purpose of conducting scientific 
research the results of which are not intended to promote any 
particular product or industry. A requester in this category must show 
that the request is authorized by and is made under the auspices of a 
qualifying institution and that the records are sought to further 
scientific research and are not for a commercial use. The NMB will 
advise requesters of their placement in this category.
    Representative of the news media is any person or entity that 
gathers information of potential interest to a segment of the public, 
uses its editorial skills to turn the raw materials into a distinct 
work, and distributes that work to an audience. The term ``news'' means 
information that is about current events or that would be of current 
interest to the public. Examples of news media entities include 
television or radio stations that broadcast ``news'' to the public at 
large and publishers of periodicals that disseminate ``news'' and make 
their products available through a variety of means to the general 
public, including news organizations that disseminate solely on the 
Internet. A request for records supporting the news-dissemination 
function of the requester will not be considered to be for a commercial 
use. ``Freelance'' journalists who demonstrate a solid basis for 
expecting publication through a news media entity will be considered as 
a representative of the news media. A publishing contract would provide 
the clearest evidence that publication is expected; however, agencies 
can also consider a requester's past publication record in making this 
determination. The NMB will advise requesters of their placement in 
this category.
    Review is the examination of a record located in response to a 
request in order to determine whether any portion of it is exempt from 
disclosure. Review time includes processing any record for disclosure, 
such as doing all that is necessary to prepare the record for 
disclosure, including the process of redacting the record and marking 
the appropriate exemptions. Review costs are properly charged even if a 
record ultimately is not disclosed. Review time also includes time 
spent both obtaining and considering any formal objection to disclosure 
made by a confidential business information submitter under Sec.  
1208.2(b)(5), but it does not include time spent resolving general 
legal or policy issues regarding the application of exemptions.
    Search is the process of looking for and retrieving records or 
information responsive to a request. Search time includes page-by-page 
or line-by-line identification of information within records and the 
reasonable efforts expended to locate and retrieve information from 
electronic records.
    (c) Charging fees. In responding to FOIA requests, the NMB will 
charge the following fees unless a waiver or reduction of fees has been 
granted under paragraph (k) of this section. Because the fee amounts 
provided below already account for the direct costs associated with a 
given fee type, the NMB will not add any additional costs to charges 
calculated under this section.
    (1) Search. (i) Requests made by educational institutions, 
noncommercial scientific institutions, or representatives of the news 
media are not subject to search fees. The NMB will charge search fees 
for all other requesters, subject to the restrictions of paragraph (d) 
of this section. The NMB may properly charge for time spent searching 
even if it does

[[Page 8899]]

not locate any responsive records or determines that the records are 
entirely exempt from disclosure.
    (ii) For each quarter hour spent by personnel searching for 
requested records, including electronic searches that do not require 
new programming, direct costs will be charged.
    (iii) The NMB will also charge direct costs associated with 
conducting any search that requires the creation of a new computer 
program to locate the requested records. The NMB will notify the 
requester of the costs associated with creating such a program, and the 
requester must agree to pay the associated costs before the costs may 
be incurred.
    (2) Duplication. The NMB will charge duplication fees to all 
requesters, subject to the restrictions of paragraph (d) of this 
section. The NMB will honor a requester's preference for receiving a 
record in a particular form or format where it can readily reproduce it 
in the form or format requested. Where photocopies are supplied, the 
NMB will provide one copy per request at the cost of 15 cents per page. 
For copies of records produced on tapes, disks, or other media, the NMB 
will charge the direct costs of producing the copy, including operator 
time. Where paper documents must be scanned in order to comply with a 
requester's preference to receive the records in an electronic format, 
the requester must also pay the direct costs associated with scanning 
those materials. For other forms of duplication, the NMB will charge 
the direct costs.
    (3) Review. The NMB will charge review fees to requesters who make 
commercial use requests. Review fees will be assessed in connection 
with the initial review of the record, i.e., the review conducted by 
the NMB to determine whether an exemption applies to a particular 
record or portion of a record. No charge will be made for review at the 
administrative appeal stage of exemptions applied at the initial review 
stage. However, if a particular exemption is deemed to no longer apply, 
any costs associated with the re-review of the records in order to 
consider the use of other exemptions may be assessed as review fees. 
Review fees will be charged at the same rates as those charged for a 
search under paragraph (c)(1)(ii) of this section.
    (d) Restrictions on charging fees. (1) When the NMB determines that 
a requester is an educational institution, non-commercial scientific 
institution, or representative of the news media, and the records are 
not sought for commercial use, it will not charge search fees.
    (2)(i) If the NMB fails to comply with the time limits described in 
section 1208.2(b)(1) in which to respond to a request, it may not 
charge search fees, or, in the instances of requests from requesters 
described in paragraph (d)(1) of this section, may not charge 
duplication fees, except as described in paragraph (d)(2)(ii) through 
(iv) of this section.
    (ii) If the NMB has determined that unusual circumstances as 
defined in section 1208.2(b)(2) apply and the NMB provided timely 
written notice to the requester in accordance with that section, a 
failure to comply with the time limit shall be excused for an 
additional 10 days.
    (iii) If the NMB has determined that unusual circumstances apply 
and more than 5,000 pages are necessary to respond to the request, the 
NMB may charge search fees, or, in the case of requesters described in 
paragraph (d)(1) of this section, may charge duplication fees, if the 
following steps are taken. The NMB must have provided timely written 
notice of unusual circumstances to the requester in accordance with the 
FOIA and must have discussed with the requester via written mail, 
email, or telephone (or made not less than three good-faith attempts to 
do so) how the requester could effectively limit the scope of the 
request in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(6)(B)(ii). If this exception 
is satisfied, the NMB may charge all applicable fees incurred in the 
processing of the request.
    (iv) If a court has determined that exceptional circumstances 
exist, as defined by the FOIA, a failure to comply with the time limits 
shall be excused for the length of time provided by the court order.
    (3) No search or review fees will be charged for a quarter-hour 
period unless more than half of that period is required for search or 
review.
    (4) Except for requesters seeking records for a commercial use, the 
NMB will provide without charge:
    (i) The first 100 pages of duplication (or the cost equivalent for 
other media); and
    (ii) The first two hours of search.
    (5) No fee will be charged when the total fee, after deducting the 
100 free pages (or its cost equivalent) and the first two hours of 
search, is equal to or less than $25.
    (e) Notice of anticipated fees in excess of $25.00. (1) When the 
NMB determines or estimates that the fees to be assessed in accordance 
with this section will exceed $25.00, the Agency must notify the 
requester of the actual or estimated amount of the fees, including a 
breakdown of the fees for search, review or duplication, unless the 
requester has indicated a willingness to pay fees as high as those 
anticipated. If only a portion of the fee can be estimated readily, the 
NMB will advise the requester accordingly. If the request is not for 
noncommercial use, the notice will specify that the requester is 
entitled to the statutory entitlements of 100 pages of duplication at 
no charge and, if the requester is charged search fees, two hours of 
search time at no charge, and will advise the requester whether those 
entitlements have been provided.
    (2) If the NMB notifies the requester that the actual or estimated 
fees are in excess of $25.00, the request will not be considered 
received and further work will not be completed until the requester 
commits in writing to pay the actual or estimated total fee, or 
designates some amount of fees the requester is willing to pay, or in 
the case of a noncommercial use requester who has not yet been provided 
with the requester's statutory entitlements, designates that the 
requester seeks only that which can be provided by the statutory 
entitlements. The requester must provide the commitment or designation 
in writing, and must, when applicable, designate an exact dollar amount 
the requester is willing to pay. The NMB is not required to accept 
payments in installments.
    (3) If the requester has indicated a willingness to pay some 
designated amount of fees, but the NMB estimates that the total fee 
will exceed that amount, it will toll the processing of the request 
when it notifies the requester of the estimated fees in excess of the 
amount the requester has indicated a willingness to pay. The NMB will 
inquire whether the requester wishes to revise the amount of fees the 
requester is willing to pay or modify the request. Once the requester 
responds, the time to respond will resume from where it was at the date 
of the notification.
    (4) The NMB will make available its FOIA Public Liaison or other 
FOIA professional to assist any requester in reformulating a request to 
meet the requester's needs at a lower cost.
    (f) Charges for other services. Although not required to provide 
special services, if the NMB chooses to do so as a matter of 
administrative discretion, the direct costs of providing the service 
will be charged. Examples of such services include certifying that 
records are true copies, providing multiple copies of the same 
document, or sending records by means other than first class mail.
    (g) Charging interest. The NMB may charge interest on any unpaid 
bill starting on the 31st day following the

[[Page 8900]]

date of billing the requester. Interest charges will be assessed at the 
rate provided in 31 U.S.C. 3717 and will accrue from the billing date 
until payment is received by the Agency. The NMB will follow the 
provisions of the Debt Collection Act of 1982 (Pub. L. 97-365, 96 Stat. 
1749), as amended, and its administrative procedures, including the use 
of consumer reporting agencies, collection agencies, and offset.
    (h) Aggregating requests. When the NMB reasonably believes that a 
requester or a group of requesters acting in concert is attempting to 
divide a single request into a series of requests for the purpose of 
avoiding fees, it may aggregate those requests and charge accordingly. 
The NMB may presume that multiple requests of this type made within a 
30-day period have been made in order to avoid fees. For requests 
separated by a longer period, the NMB will aggregate them only where 
there is a reasonable basis for determining that aggregation is 
warranted in view of all the circumstances involved. Multiple requests 
involving unrelated matters cannot be aggregated.
    (i) Advance payments. (1) For requests other than those described 
in paragraphs (i)(2) or (i)(3) of this section, the NMB will not 
require the requester to make an advance payment before work is 
commenced or continued on a request. Payment owed for work already 
completed (i.e., payment before copies are sent to a requester) is not 
an advance payment.
    (2) When the NMB determines or estimates that a total fee to be 
charged under this section will exceed $250.00, it may require that the 
requester make an advance payment up to the amount of the entire 
anticipated fee before beginning to process the request. The NMB may 
elect to process the request prior to collecting fees when it receives 
a satisfactory assurance of full payment from a requester with a 
history of prompt payment.
    (3) Where a requester has previously failed to pay a properly 
charged FOIA fee within 30 calendar days of the billing date, the NMB 
may require that the requester pay the full amount due, plus any 
applicable interest on that prior request, and it may require that the 
requester make an advance payment of the full amount of any anticipated 
fee before beginning to process a new request or continuing to process 
a pending request or any pending appeal. Where the NMB has a reasonable 
basis to believe that a requester has misrepresented the requester's 
identity in order to avoid paying outstanding fees, it may require that 
the requester provide proof of identity.
    (4) In cases in which the NMB requires advance payment, the request 
will not be considered received and further work will not be completed 
until the required payment is received. If the requester does not pay 
the advance payment within 30 calendar days after the date of the fee 
determination, the request will be closed.
    (j) Other statutes specifically providing for fees. The fee 
schedule of this section does not apply to fees charged under any 
statute that specifically requires the NMB to set and collect fees for 
particular types of records. In instances where records responsive to a 
request are subject to a statutorily-based fee schedule program, the 
NMB must inform the requester of the contact information for that 
program.
    (k) Requirements for waiver or reduction of fees. (1) Requesters 
may seek a waiver of fees by submitting a written application 
demonstrating how disclosure of the requested information is in the 
public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to 
public understanding of the operations or activities of the government 
and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.
    (2) The NMB will furnish records responsive to a request without 
charge or at a reduced rate when it determines, based on all available 
information, that the factors described in paragraphs (k)(2)(i) through 
(iii) of this section are satisfied:
    (i) Disclosure of the requested information would shed light on the 
operations or activities of the government. The subject of the request 
must concern identifiable operations or activities of the Federal 
Government with a connection that is direct and clear, not remote or 
attenuated.
    (ii) Disclosure of the requested information is likely to 
contribute significantly to public understanding of those operations or 
activities. This factor is satisfied when the following criteria are 
met:
    (A) Disclosure of the requested records must be meaningfully 
informative about government operations or activities. The disclosure 
of information that already is in the public domain, in either the same 
or a substantially identical form, would not be meaningfully 
informative if nothing new would be added to the public's 
understanding.
    (B) The disclosure must contribute to the understanding of a 
reasonably broad audience of persons interested in the subject, as 
opposed to the individual understanding of the requester. A requester's 
expertise in the subject area as well as the requester's ability and 
intention to effectively convey information to the public must be 
considered. Agencies will presume that a representative of the news 
media will satisfy this consideration.
    (iii) The disclosure must not be primarily in the commercial 
interest of the requester. To determine whether disclosure of the 
requested information is primarily in the commercial interest of the 
requester, agencies will consider the following criteria:
    (A) The NMB will identify whether the requester has any commercial 
interest that would be furthered by the requested disclosure. A 
commercial interest includes any commercial, trade, or profit interest. 
Requesters must be given an opportunity to provide explanatory 
information regarding this consideration.
    (B) If there is an identified commercial interest, the NMB must 
determine whether that is the primary interest furthered by the 
request. A waiver or reduction of fees is justified when the 
requirements of paragraphs (k)(2)(i) and (ii) of this section are 
satisfied and any commercial interest is not the primary interest 
furthered by the request. The NMB will presume that when a news media 
requester has satisfied the factors in paragraphs (k)(2)(i) and (ii) of 
this section, the request is not primarily in the commercial interest 
of the requester. Disclosure to data brokers or others who merely 
compile and market government information for direct economic return 
will not be presumed to primarily serve the public interest.
    (3) Where only some of the records to be released satisfy the 
requirements for a waiver of fees, a waiver will be granted for those 
records.
    (4) Requests for a waiver or reduction of fees should be made when 
the request is first submitted and should address the criteria 
referenced above. A requester may submit a fee waiver request at a 
later time so long as the underlying record request is pending or on 
administrative appeal. When a requester who has committed to pay fees 
subsequently asks for a waiver of those fees and that waiver is denied, 
the requester must pay any costs incurred up to the date the fee waiver 
request was received.


Sec.  1208.7  Subpoenas and other requests for testimony and production 
of documents in legal proceedings where the NMB is not a party.

    (a) In legal proceedings between private litigants, a subpoena or 
other demand for the production of records held by the Agency or for 
oral or written

[[Page 8901]]

testimony of a current or former NMB employee should be addressed to 
the General Counsel, National Mediation Board, 1301 K Street NW., Suite 
250E, Washington, DC 20005. No other official or employee of the NMB is 
authorized to accept service of a demand or subpoena on behalf of the 
Agency.
    (b) No current or former employee may produce official records or 
information or provide testimony in response to a demand or subpoena 
unless authorized by the General Counsel.
    (c) The General Counsel may grant an employee permission to testify 
or produce official records or information in response to a demand or 
subpoena. In making this determination, the General Counsel shall 
consider whether:
    (1) Release of the requested records or testimony is prohibited 
under Sec.  1208.5;
    (2) The disclosure is appropriate under the rules of procedure 
governing the case or matter;
    (3) The requested testimony or records are privileged under the 
relevant substantive law concerning privilege;
    (4) Disclosure would violate a statute or regulation;
    (5) Disclosure would reveal trade secrets without the owner's 
consent; and
    (6) Allowing testimony or production of records would be in the 
best interest of the NMB or the United States.

    Dated: January 27, 2017.
Mary Johnson,
General Counsel, National Mediation Board.
[FR Doc. 2017-02103 Filed 1-31-17; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7550-01-P