Revision of the DOL FOIA Regulations, 54770-54780 [2016-18594]

Download as PDF 54770 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 159 / Wednesday, August 17, 2016 / Proposed Rules representing the entire multi-Tribal jurisdiction on the Committee. Nominations must include the following information about each nominee: (1) A letter from the Tribe supporting the nomination of the individual to serve as a Tribal representative for the Committee; (2) A resume reflecting the nominee’s qualifications and experience in Indian education; resume to include the nominee’s name, Tribal affiliation, job title, major job duties, employer, business address, business telephone and fax numbers (and business email address, if applicable); (3) The Tribal interest(s) to be represented by the nominee (see Section IV, Part F of Federal Register notice of intent at 80 FR 69161) and whether the nominee will represent other interest(s) related to this rulemaking, as the Tribe may designate; and (4) A brief description of how the nominee will represent Tribal views, communicate with Tribal constituents, and have a clear means to reach agreement on behalf of the Tribe(s) they are representing. (5) A statement on whether the nominee is only representing one Tribe’s views or whether the expectation is that the nominee represents a specific group of Tribes. To be considered, nominations must be received by the close of business on the date listed in the DATES section, at the location indicated in the ADDRESSES section. If you already submitted a nomination prior to the December 24, 2015, deadline or May 31, 2016 deadline, your application will still be considered. V. Certification For the above reasons, I hereby certify that the Accountability Negotiated Rulemaking Committee is in the public interest. Dated: August 8, 2016. Lawrence S. Roberts, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary—Indian Affairs. [FR Doc. 2016–19599 Filed 8–16–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4337–15–P mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with PROPOSALS DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Office of the Secretary 29 CFR Part 70 RIN 1290–AA30 Revision of the DOL FOIA Regulations Office of the Secretary, Department of Labor. AGENCY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:15 Aug 16, 2016 Jkt 238001 Notice of proposed rulemaking, request for comments. ACTION: This rule proposes revisions to the Department of Labor’s regulations under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), found in our regulations. The regulations are being revised to update and streamline the language of several procedural provisions, and to incorporate changes brought about by amendments to the FOIA under the OPEN Government Act of 2007 and the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016. DATES: Written comments must be postmarked and electronic comments must be submitted on or before October 17, 2016. Comments received by mail will be considered timely if they are postmarked on or before that date. The electronic Federal Docket Management System (https://www.regulations.gov) will accept comments until Midnight Eastern Time at the end of that day. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods: • Federal eRulemaking Portal: https// www.regulations.gov. • FAX: (202) 693–5389. Send your comments to the attention of Ramona Branch Oliver. • Mail: Ramona Branch Oliver, Director, Office of Information Services, MALS Division, Office of the Solicitor, U.S. Department of Labor, Suite N– 2420, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210. • E-mail: oliver.ramona@dol.gov. Please indicate ‘‘Comments on FOIA Rule’’ in the subject line. • To ensure proper handling, please reference Docket No. DOL–2016–007 on your correspondence. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ramona Branch Oliver, Director, Office of Information Services, 202–693–5391. Discussion: This rule proposes revisions to the Department’s regulations under the FOIA, found at 29 CFR part 70, to update and streamline the language of several procedural provisions and to incorporate certain of the changes brought about by the amendments to the FOIA under the OPEN Government Act of 2007, Public Law 110–175, 121 Stat. 2524 and the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016, Public Law 114–185,130 Stat. 538 (enacted June 30, 2016). The Department of Labor last published FOIA regulations on May 30, 2006. The proposed revisions to the Department’s FOIA regulations in 29 CFR part 70 incorporate changes to the language and structure of the regulations. Revised provisions include § 70.1 (General provisions), § 70.2 (Definitions), § 70.3 (Policy), § 70.4 SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00023 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 (Proactive disclosure of Department records), § 70.19 (Requirements for making a request), § 70.20 (Responsibility for responding to requests), § 70.21 (Responses to requests), § 70.25 (Time limits and order in which requests must be processed), § 70.38 (Definitions related to costs), and § 70.40 (Charges assessed for the production of records). Current sections have been renamed § 70.1 (from Purpose and scope to General provisions), § 70.4 (from Public reading rooms to Proactive disclosure of Departmental records), § 70.19 (from Requests for access to records to Requirements for making requests), § 70.21 (from Form and content of responses to Responses to requests), and § 70.26 (from Business information to Confidential commercial information). Also, in lieu of using the term ‘‘disclosure officer,’’ DOL is using the word ‘‘component’’ to refer to the decentralized agency FOIA components throughout the draft regulation. As the Department of Labor was completing preparation of this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to update its FOIA regulation, Congress passed on June 13, 2016 and the President signed on June 30, 2016, the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016. The Department has incorporated changes to this proposed rule to address provisions of the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016. Specifically, the following sections of this NPRM were revised to reflect statutory changes: Section 70.1(d) and (f); Sec. 70.3; Sec. 70.4; Sec. 70.19(d); Sec. 70.21(d) and (e); Sec. 70.25(c); and Sec. 70.40(e). Comments on these proposed provisions based on the text of the amended statute are welcomed. The Department will consider those comments, along with any other comments received, and if appropriate will revise the regulation to ensure the rule aligns with the amended statute. Regulatory Flexibility Act: The Secretary of Labor, in accordance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 605(b)), has reviewed this regulation and by approving it certifies that this regulation will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Under the FOIA, agencies may recover only the direct costs of searching for, reviewing, and duplicating the records processed for requesters, and only for certain classes of requester and when particular conditions are satisfied. Thus, fees assessed by the Department are nominal. Further, the ‘‘small entities’’ that make FOIA requests, as compared with individual requesters and other requesters, are relatively few in number. EO 12866: This regulation has been drafted and reviewed in accordance E:\FR\FM\17AUP1.SGM 17AUP1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 159 / Wednesday, August 17, 2016 / Proposed Rules with Executive Order 12866, § 1(b), Principles of Regulation. The Office of Management and Budget has determined that this rule is not a ‘‘significant regulatory action’’ under Executive Order 12866, § 3(f), Regulatory Planning and Review, and accordingly this rule has not been reviewed by that Office. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995: This rule will not result in the expenditure by State, local, and Tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100,000,000 or more in any one year, and it will not significantly or uniquely affect small governments. Therefore, no actions were deemed necessary under the provisions of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995. Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1995: This rule is not a major rule as defined by section 251 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (as amended), 5 U.S.C. 804. This rule will not result in an annual effect on the economy of $100,000,000 or more; a major increase in costs or prices; or significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or on the ability of United States-based companies to compete with foreignbased companies in domestic and export markets. List of Subjects in 29 CFR Parts 70 Administrative practice and procedure; Freedom of Information Act; Privacy. For the reasons stated in the preamble, the Department of Labor proposes to amend 29 CFR part 70, as follows: PART 70—PRODUCTION OR DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION OR MATERIALS mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with PROPOSALS Subpart A—General Sec. 70.1 General provisions. 70.2 Definitions. 70.3 Policy. 70.4 Proactive disclosure of Departmental records. 70.5 Compilation of new records. 70.6 Disclosure of originals. 70.7–70.18 [Reserved] Subpart B—Procedures for Disclosure of Records Under the Freedom of Information Act 70.19 Requirements for making a request. 70.20 Responsibility for responding to requests. 70.21 Responses to requests. 70.22 Appeals from denial of requests. 70.23 Action on appeals. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:15 Aug 16, 2016 Jkt 238001 70.24 Form and content of action on appeals. 70.25 Time limits and order in which requests and appeals must be processed. 70.26 Confidential commercial information. 70.27 Preservation of records. 70.28–70.37 [Reserved] Subpart C—Costs for Production of Records 70.38 Definitions related to costs. 70.39 Statutes specifically providing for setting of fees. 70.40 Charges assessed for the production of records. 70.41 Reduction or waiver of fees. 70.42 Consent to pay fees. 70.43 Payment of fees. 70.44 Other rights and services. 70.45–70.52 [Reserved] Subpart D—Public Records and Filings 70.53 Office of Labor-Management Standards. 70.54 Employee Benefits Security Administration. Appendix A to Part 70—FOIA Components Appendix B to Part 70—[Reserved] Authority: 5 U.S.C. 301, 29 U.S.C. 551 et seq., 5 U.S.C. 552, as amended; Reorganization Plan No. 6 of 1950, 5 U.S.C. Appendix, 29 U.S.C. 1026 (106), 5 U.S.C. app. 11., E.O. 12600, 52 FR 23781, 3 CFR, 1988 Comp., p. 235. This part also implements the public information provisions of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA), 29 U.S.C. 435, see § 70.53 below; the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. 1026 (106), see § 70.54 below; and the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), 5 U.S.C. app. 11, see § 70.40(i) below. Subpart A—General § 70.1 General provisions. (a) This part is organized as follows: subpart A contains general information about Department of Labor policies and procedures; subpart B sets forth the procedures for obtaining access to records of the Department; subpart C contains the Department’s regulations on fees; and subpart D sets forth the procedures for obtaining access to certain public records. Appendix A contains a list of all Department of Labor FOIA components from whom records may be obtained. (b) This part contains the rules that the Department of Labor follows in processing requests for records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), as amended, 5 U.S.C. 552. The rules in this part should be read together with the text of the FOIA, which provides additional information about access to records maintained by the Department. Additionally, the Department’s ‘‘Guide to Submitting Requests under the FOIA’’ and related documents contain helpful information about the specific PO 00000 Frm 00024 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 54771 procedures particular to the Department with respect to making FOIA requests, and descriptions of the types of records maintained by different components of the Department. These references are available at http://www.dol.gov/dol/ foia/guide6.html. (c) Requests made by individuals for records about themselves under the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a, are processed under 29 CFR part 71 as well as under this part. Information routinely provided to the public as part of a regular Department activity (for example, press releases issued by the Office of Public Affairs (OPA)) may be provided to the public without following this subpart. (d) As set forth in Sec. 70.3, the Department operates its FOIA program with a presumption of openness and withholds records or information under the FOIA only when the Department reasonably foresees that disclosure would harm an interest protected by a FOIA exemption or when disclosure is prohibited by law. (e) The Department has a decentralized system for processing requests, with each component handling requests for its own records. Each component has a FOIA Customer Service Center that can assist individuals in locating records and address questions regarding pending FOIA requests. A list of the Department’s Customer Service Centers is available at http://www.dol.gov/dol/ foia/RequestorServiceCenters.htm. (f) The Secretary has designated a Chief FOIA Officer for the Department. Contact information for the Chief FOIA Officer is available on the Department’s FOIA Web site, http://www.dol.gov/dol/ foia/. The Office of Information Services (OIS), which is located within the Office of the Solicitor, provides Department level guidance and oversight for the Department’s FOIA program and supports the statutorily-based responsibilities of the DOL Chief FOIA Officer. (g) The Department has a designated FOIA Public Liaison who can assist individuals in locating records of a particular component and with resolving issues relating to the processing of a pending FOIA request. Information concerning the DOL FOIA Public Liaison is available at http:// www.dol.gov/sol/foia/liaison.htm. The DOL FOIA Public Liaison is responsible for assisting in reducing delays in FOIA processing, increasing transparency and understanding, providing information concerning the status of requests, and assisting in the resolution of disputes. E:\FR\FM\17AUP1.SGM 17AUP1 54772 mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with PROPOSALS § 70.2 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 159 / Wednesday, August 17, 2016 / Proposed Rules Definitions. As used in this part: (a) The terms agency, person, party, rule, order, and adjudication have the meaning attributed to these terms by the definitions in 5 U.S.C. 551. (b) Confidential commercial information means commercial or financial information received or obtained by the Department from a submitter, directly or indirectly, that arguably may be protected from disclosure under Exemption 4 of the FOIA. (c) The Department means the Department of Labor. (d) FOIA Component means an official component of the Department that has authority to disclose or withhold records under the FOIA and to whom requests to inspect or copy records in its custody should be addressed. Department of Labor components are listed in Appendix A to this part. (e) Record means any information that would be an agency record subject to the requirements of this part when maintained by an agency in any format, including an electronic format, and any information described under this part that is maintained for an agency by an entity under Government contract, for the purposes of records management. (f) Request means any written request for records made pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(3) and which meets the requirements of this part. (g) Requester means any person who makes a request. (h) Search means to look for, manually or by automated means, Department records for the purpose of locating them in response to a pending request. (i) The Secretary means the Secretary of Labor. (j) Submitter means any person or entity from whom the Department receives or obtains confidential commercial or financial information, directly or indirectly. The term submitter includes, but is not limited to corporations, labor organizations, nonprofit organizations, and local, state, and tribal and foreign governments. (k) Unusual circumstances means, to the extent reasonably necessary for the proper processing of a FOIA request: (1) The need to search for and collect the requested records from physically separate facilities; (2) The need to search for, collect, and appropriately examine a voluminous amount of separate and distinct records that are demanded in a single request; or (3) The need for consultation, which will be conducted with all practicable VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:15 Aug 16, 2016 Jkt 238001 speed, with another agency having a substantial interest in the determination of the request. § 70.3 Policy. All agency records, except those exempt from mandatory disclosure by one or more provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552(b), will be made promptly available to any person submitting a written request in accordance with the procedures of this part. The Department will withhold records under the FOIA only when the Department reasonably foresees that disclosure would harm an interest protected by a FOIA exemption or is prohibited by law. Whenever the Department determines that full disclosure of a requested record is not possible, the Department will consider whether partial disclosure is possible and will take reasonable steps to segregate and release nonexempt material. As set forth in Sec. 70.4, the Department proactively identifies and discloses records of interest to the public. § 70.4 Proactive disclosure of Departmental records. Records that are required by the FOIA, 5 U.S.C. 552 (a)(2), to be made available for public inspection in an electronic format may be accessed through the Department’s Web site at http://www.dol.gov/dol/foia/. Each component is responsible for determining which of its records are required to be made publicly available, as well as identifying additional records of interest to the public that are appropriate for public disclosure, and for posting and indexing such records. Each component must review and update its Web site of posted records and indices on an ongoing basis. § 70.5 Compilation of new records. Nothing in 5 U.S.C. 552 or this part requires that any agency or component create a new record in order to respond to a request for records. A component must, however, make reasonable efforts to search for records that already exist in electronic form or format, except when such efforts would significantly interfere with the operation of the component’s automated information systems. The component will determine what constitutes a reasonable effort on a case-by-case basis. § 70.6 Disclosure of originals. (a) No original record or file in the custody of the Department of Labor, or of any component or official thereof, will on any occasion be given to any agent, attorney, or other person not officially connected with the Department without the written consent PO 00000 Frm 00025 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 of the Secretary, the Solicitor of Labor or the Inspector General. (b) The individual authorizing the release of the original record or file must ensure that a copy of the document or file is retained in the component that had custody and/or control when an original document or file is released pursuant to this subpart. § 70.7–70.18 [Reserved] Subpart B—Procedures for Disclosure of Records Under the Freedom of Information Act § 70.19 Requirements for making a request. (a) General information. The Department of Labor has a decentralized system for responding to requests submitted under the FOIA. Each agency component has the ability to receive FOIA requests in writing by mail, delivery service/courier or facsimile at its designated mailing address. Any FOIA request submitted electronically, by email, must be submitted to foiarequests@dol.gov. Requests under this part submitted to any other email address will not be accepted. (b) To make a request for records of the Department, whenever possible, a requester should write directly to the FOIA office of the component that maintains the records sought. Submitting the request directly to the FOIA office of the component that maintains the records sought will facilitate the quickest response. The requester must provide a mailing address to receive correspondence, and it may facilitate processing if telephone and email contact information are provided. (1) The Department’s components for the purposes of the FOIA are listed in Appendix A to this part. The function and mailing address of each Department of Labor component is available on the Department’s FOIA Web site at http:// www.dol.gov/dol.foia. This page also provides other information that is helpful in determining where to make a request. (2) Requesters who cannot determine the proper FOIA office component or who are requesting records from multiple components may also send requests to the Office of the Solicitor, Office of Information Services, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Room N– 2420, Washington, DC 20210 or by email to foiarequests@dol.gov. Note that, pursuant to Sec. 70.25(a), the time for the component to respond to a request begins to run when the request is received by the proper component, but no later than 10 working days after E:\FR\FM\17AUP1.SGM 17AUP1 mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 159 / Wednesday, August 17, 2016 / Proposed Rules receipt in any component identified in Appendix A. (c) Description of records sought. Requesters must describe the record or records sought in sufficient detail to enable Department personnel to locate them with a reasonable amount of effort. To the extent possible, the request should provide enough identifying information to help the component identify the requested records, such as the subject of the record, the date or approximate date when the record was created, the record’s title or name, case or file number, reference number, the person or office or the office location that created it, and any other pertinent identifying details. Prior to submitting the request, a requester may wish to consult the references provided in Sec. 70.1, the relevant FOIA Requester Service Center or the FOIA Public Liaison to discuss the records they are seeking and to receive assistance on how to describe the records. (d) Deficient descriptions and revised requests. If the description is insufficient, so that a knowledgeable employee who is familiar with the subject area of the request cannot identify the record with a reasonable amount of effort, the component processing the request will notify the requester and describe what additional information is needed to process the request. (1) Requesters who are attempting to modify or reformulate their requests may discuss their requests with the component’s designated FOIA contact, the FOIA Public Liaison, or a representative of OIS, each of whom is available to assist the requester in reasonably describing the records sought. Every reasonable effort will be made to assist a requester in the identification and location of the records sought. If the requester fails to reasonably describe the records sought, the agency’s response to the request may be delayed. (2) Any amended request must be confirmed in writing and meet the requirements for a request under this part. (3) While an agency component awaits a requester’s modified FOIA request, the processing time limits described in Sec. 70.25(a)(1) will be tolled (that is, the processing time clock will be stopped) until clarification is received from the requester. § 70.20 Responsibility for responding to requests. (a) In general. Except in the instances stated in paragraph (d) of this section, the component that first receives a request for a record and maintains that VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:15 Aug 16, 2016 Jkt 238001 record is the component responsible for responding to the request. In determining which records are responsive to a request, a component ordinarily will include only records in its possession as of the date that the component begins the search; if any other date is used, the component will inform the requester of that date. A record that is excluded from the requirements of the FOIA pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552(c), is not considered responsive to a request. When it is determined that records responsive to a request may be located in multiple components of the Department, the Office of Information Services may coordinate the Department’s response. If the Office of Information Services deems a consolidated response appropriate, it will issue such a response on behalf of the Department. (b) Authority to grant or deny requests. Pursuant to relevant exemptions under 5 U.S.C. 552(b), the head of a component, or designee, is authorized to grant or to deny any requests for records that are maintained by that component. (c) Re-routing of misdirected requests. Where a component’s FOIA office determines that a request was misdirected within the Department, the receiving component’s FOIA office will work with OIS to facilitate the routing of the request to the FOIA office of the proper component(s). (d) Consultations and referrals. When a component receives a request for a record, it will determine if another component of the Department, or of the Federal Government, is better able to determine whether the record can be disclosed or is exempt from disclosure under the FOIA. If the receiving component determines that it is not best able to process the record, then the receiving component will either: (1) Respond to the request after consulting with the component or agency best able to determine whether to disclose the record and with any other component or agency that has a substantial interest in the record; or (2) Refer the responsibility for responding to the request regarding that record to the component best able to determine whether to disclose it, or to another agency that originated the record (but only if that entity is subject to the FOIA). Ordinarily, the component or agency that originated the record will be presumed to be best able to determine whether to disclose it. (e) Notice of referral. Whenever a component refers all or any part of the responsibility for responding to a request to another component or agency, the component will notify the requester PO 00000 Frm 00026 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 54773 of the referral and inform the requester of the name of each component or agency to which the request has been referred and provide contact information for that component or agency. (f) Classified records. Any request for classified records which are in the custody of the Department of Labor will be referred to the classifying agency under paragraphs (d) and (e) of this section. § 70.21 Responses to requests. (a) In general. Components should, to the extent practicable, communicate with requesters using the method that is most likely to increase the speed and efficiency of the communication, including by electronic means, such as by email. (b) Acknowledgements of requests. A component will acknowledge each new request and assign it an individualized tracking number. Components will include in the acknowledgment a brief description of the records sought to allow the requesters to more easily keep track of their requests. (c) Granting a request. After a component makes a determination to grant a request in full or in part, the component will notify the requester in writing. The component will provide the record in the form or format requested if the record is readily reproducible in that form or format, provided the requester has agreed to pay and/or has paid any fees required by subpart C of this part. The component will determine on a case-by-case basis what constitutes a readily reproducible format. Each component should make reasonable efforts to maintain its records in commonly reproducible forms or formats. (d) Adverse determinations of requests. A component making an adverse determination denying a request in any respect must notify the requester in writing. Adverse determinations, or denials of requests, include decisions that: the requested record is exempt, in whole or in part, from release pursuant to one or more exemptions under the FOIA, 5 U.S.C. 552; the request does not reasonably describe the records sought; the information requested is not a record subject to the FOIA; the requested record does not exist, cannot be located, or has been destroyed; or the requested record is not readily producible in the form or format sought by the requester. Adverse determinations also include denials involving fees or fee waiver matters or denials for requests for expedited processing. E:\FR\FM\17AUP1.SGM 17AUP1 54774 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 159 / Wednesday, August 17, 2016 / Proposed Rules (e) Content of the denial. The denial notice must be signed by the component agency head or a designee and will include: (1) The name and title or position of the person responsible for the denial; (2) A brief statement of the reason or reasons for the denial, including any FOIA exemption or exemptions applied or procedural reasons relied upon by the component in denying the request; (3) An estimate of the volume of records or information withheld, in number of pages or in some other reasonable form of estimation. This estimate does not need to be provided if the volume is otherwise indicated through deletions on records disclosed in part, or if providing an estimate would harm an interest protected by the exemption under which the deletion was made; (4) The right of the requester to seek assistance from the FOIA Public Liaison; and (5) In the case of an adverse determination: (i) a statement that the denial may be appealed as described under Sec. 70.22; and (ii) a statement notifying the requester of the right to seek dispute resolution services from the Department’s FOIA Public Liaison or the Office of Government Information Services (within the National Archives and Records Administration). (f) Markings on released documents. Markings on released documents must be clearly visible to the requester. Records disclosed in part shall be marked to show the amount of information deleted and the exemption(s) under which the deletion was made unless doing so would harm an interest protected by an applicable exemption. The location of the information deleted shall also be indicated on the records, if technically feasible. mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with PROPOSALS § 70.22 Appeals from denial of requests. (a) A requester may appeal to the Solicitor of Labor when one or more of the following has occurred: A request for access to records has been denied in whole or in part; a requester disputes a determination that records cannot be located or have been destroyed; a requester disputes a determination by a component concerning the assessment or waiver of fees; a requester disputes the denial of a request for expedited processing or a component fails to respond to a request within the time limits set forth in the FOIA. The appeal must be filed within 90 days of the date of the action being appealed. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:15 Aug 16, 2016 Jkt 238001 (b) The appeal must state in writing the grounds for appeal, and it may include any supporting statements or arguments, but such statements are not required. In order to facilitate processing of the appeal, the appeal must include the assigned request number (if applicable), appellant’s mailing address and daytime telephone number, as well as copies of the initial request and the component’s response. If mailed, the envelope and the letter of appeal should be clearly marked: ‘‘Freedom of Information Act Appeal.’’ Any amendment to the appeal must be in writing and received prior to a decision on the appeal. (c) The appeal should be addressed to the Solicitor of Labor, Office of the Solicitor, FOIA Appeals Unit, Division of Management and Administrative Legal Services, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Room N–2420, Washington, DC 20210. Appeals also may be submitted by fax to 202–693–5538 or by email to foiaappeal@dol.gov. Appeals submitted to any other email address will not be accepted. § 70.23 Action on appeals. The Solicitor of Labor, or designee, will review the appellant’s appeal and make a determination de novo whether the action of the component was proper and in accordance with the applicable law. § 70.24 Form and content of action on appeals. The disposition of an appeal will be issued by the Solicitor of Labor or designee in writing. A decision affirming, in whole or in part, the decision below will include a brief statement of the reason or reasons for the affirmance, including the FOIA exemption or exemptions relied upon, and its relation to each record withheld. Consistent with the statute, the appeal determination will also advise the requester of the availability of the mediation services of the Office of Government Information Services as a non-exclusive alternative to litigation, and the statutory right to judicial review of the denial by the United States District Court for the judicial district in which the requester resides or maintains his or her principal place of business, the judicial district in which the requested records are located, or the District of Columbia. If it is determined on appeal that a record should be disclosed, the record will be provided in accordance with the decision on appeal. If it is determined that records should be denied in whole or in part, the appeal determination will include an PO 00000 Frm 00027 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 estimate of the volume of records or information withheld, in number of pages or in some other reasonable form of estimation. This estimate does not need to be provided if the volume is otherwise indicated through deletions on records disclosed in part, or if providing an estimate would harm an interest protected by an applicable exemption. § 70.25 Time limits and order in which requests and appeals must be processed. (a) Time limits. The FOIA establishes a 20 business day deadline for regular requests and appeals, and a 10 calendar day time limit for making determinations regarding expedited processing. Components of the Department of Labor will comply with the time limits required by the FOIA for responding to and processing requests and appeals, unless there are exceptional circumstances within the meaning of 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(6)(C). A component or the designated appeal authority will notify a requester whenever they are unable to respond to or process the request or appeal within the time limits established by the FOIA. (b) Multitrack processing. All components must designate a specific track for requests that are granted expedited processing, in accordance with the standards set forth in paragraph (d) of this section. A component may also designate additional processing tracks that distinguish between simple and complex requests based on the estimated amount of work and/or time needed to process the request, including based on the number of pages involved and the need for consultations or referrals. Components shall advise the requesters of the track into which their request falls and, when appropriate, shall offer the requester an opportunity to limit the scope of their requests in order to qualify for faster processing within the specified limits of the component’s faster track. (c) Unusual circumstances. (1) Where the statutory time limits for processing a request cannot be met because of ‘‘unusual circumstances,’’ as set forth in the FOIA at 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(6)(B)(i–iii), and the component determines to extend the time limits on that basis, the component shall, before the expiration of the 20 working day deadline to respond, notify the requester in writing of the unusual circumstances and of the date by which processing of the request can be expected to be completed. This extension should not ordinarily exceed ten business days. If the component intends to extend the E:\FR\FM\17AUP1.SGM 17AUP1 mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 159 / Wednesday, August 17, 2016 / Proposed Rules deadline to respond by more than ten working days, the component must: (i) Provide the requester with an opportunity either to modify the request so that it may be processed within the time limits or to arrange an alternative time period with the component for processing the request or a modified request; (ii) Make available to the requester the contact information for the designated FOIA contact and the FOIA Public Liaison to assist the requester; and (iii) Notify the requester of the right to seek dispute resolution services from the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS). (d) Aggregating requests. Where a component reasonably believes that multiple requests submitted by a requester, or by a group of requesters acting in concert, constitute a single request that would otherwise involve unusual circumstances, and the requests involve clearly related matters, they may be aggregated. Components shall not aggregate multiple requests involving unrelated matters. (e) Expedited processing. (1) Requests and appeals will be taken out of order and given expedited treatment whenever it is determined that they involve: (i) Circumstances in which the lack of expedited treatment could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual; (ii) An urgency to inform the public about an actual or alleged federal government activity, if made by a person primarily engaged in disseminating information; (iii) The loss of substantial due process rights; or (iv) A matter of widespread and exceptional media interest in which there exists possible questions about the government’s integrity which affect public confidence. (2) A request for expedited processing may be made at the time of the initial request for records or at any later time. For a prompt determination, a request for expedited processing must be received by the proper component. Requests based on paragraphs (e)(1)(i), (ii), (iii), and (iv) of this section must be submitted to the component that maintains the records requested. (3) A requester who seeks expedited processing must submit a statement, certified to be true and correct to the best of that person’s knowledge and belief, explaining in detail the basis for requesting expedited processing. For example, a requester within the category in paragraph (e)(1)(ii) of this section, if not a full-time member of the news VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:15 Aug 16, 2016 Jkt 238001 media, must establish that he or she is a person whose main professional activity or occupation is information dissemination, though it need not be his or her sole occupation. Such a requester also must establish a particular urgency to inform the public about the government activity involved in the request—one that goes beyond the public’s general right to know about government activity. The existence of numerous articles published on a given subject can be helpful in establishing the requirement that there be an ‘‘urgency to inform’’ the public on a topic. As a matter of administrative discretion, a component may waive the formality of certification. (4) Within ten calendar days of its receipt of a request for expedited processing, the proper component will decide whether to grant the request and will notify the requester of the decision. If a request for expedited treatment is granted, the request will be given priority and will be processed as soon as practicable. If a request for expedited processing is denied, any appeal of that decision will be acted on expeditiously. § 70.26 Confidential commercial information. (a) In general. Confidential commercial information will be disclosed under the FOIA only in accordance with this section and E.O. 12,600, ‘‘Predisclosure Notification Procedures for Confidential Commercial Information.’’ (b) Designation of confidential commercial information. A submitter of confidential commercial information will use good-faith efforts to designate, by appropriate markings, either at the time of submission or at a reasonable time thereafter, any portions of its submission that it considers to be protected from disclosure under Exemption 4. These designations will expire ten years after the date of the submission unless the submitter requests, and provides justification for, a longer designation period. (c) Notice to submitters. A component will provide a submitter with prompt written notice of a FOIA request that seeks its confidential commercial information whenever required under paragraph (d) of this section, except as provided in paragraph (g) of this section, in order to give the submitter an opportunity to object in writing to disclosure of any specified portion of that information under paragraph (e) of this section. The notice will either describe the confidential commercial information requested or include copies of the requested records or record portions containing the information. PO 00000 Frm 00028 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 54775 When notification to a voluminous number of submitters is required, notification may be made by posting or publishing notice reasonably likely to accomplish such notification. (d) When notice is required. Notice will be given to a submitter whenever: (1) The information requested under the FOIA has been designated in good faith by the submitter as information considered protected from disclosure under Exemption 4; or (2) A component has reason to believe that the information requested under the FOIA may be protected from disclosure under Exemption 4, but has not yet determined whether the information is protected from disclosure under that exemption or any other applicable exemption. (e) Opportunity to object to disclosure. A component will allow a submitter a reasonable time to respond to the notice described in paragraph (c) of this section taking into account the amount of material the submitter has to review and the deadlines imposed by the FOIA or agreed to with the requester. If a submitter has any objection to disclosure, it is required to submit a detailed written statement. The statement must show why the information is a trade secret or commercial or financial information that is privileged or confidential. In the event that a submitter fails to respond to the notice within the time specified, the submitter will be considered to have no objection to disclosure of the information. Information provided by a submitter under this paragraph may itself be subject to disclosure under the FOIA. (f) Notice of intent to disclose. A component will consider a submitter’s timely objections and specific grounds for non-disclosure in deciding whether to disclose confidential commercial information. Whenever a component decides to disclose confidential commercial information over the objection of a submitter, the component will give the submitter written notice, which will include: (1) A statement of the reason(s) why each of the submitter’s disclosure objections were not sustained; (2) A description of the confidential commercial information to be disclosed; and (3) A specified disclosure date, which will be a reasonable time subsequent to the notice. (g) Exceptions to notice requirements. The notice requirements of paragraphs (c) and (f) of this section will not apply if: (1) The component determines that the information should not be disclosed; E:\FR\FM\17AUP1.SGM 17AUP1 54776 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 159 / Wednesday, August 17, 2016 / Proposed Rules (2) The information lawfully has been published or has been officially made available to the public; (3) Disclosure of the information is required by statute (other than the FOIA) or by a regulation issued in accordance with the requirements of Executive Order 12,600 (3 CFR 1988 Comp., p. 235); or (4) The designation made by the submitter under paragraph (b) of this section appears obviously frivolous or such a designation would be unsupportable—except that, in such a case, the component will, within a reasonable time prior to a specified disclosure date, give the submitter written notice of any final decision to disclose the information. (h) Notice of a FOIA lawsuit. Whenever a requester files a lawsuit seeking to compel the disclosure of confidential commercial information, the component will promptly notify the submitter. (i) Corresponding notice to requesters. Whenever a component provides a submitter with notice and an opportunity to object to disclosure under paragraphs (d) and (e) of this section, the component will also notify the requester(s). Whenever a component notifies a submitter of its intent to disclose requested information under paragraph (f) of this section, the component will also notify the requester(s). Whenever a submitter files a lawsuit seeking to prevent the disclosure of confidential commercial information, the component will notify the requester(s). (j) Notice requirements. The component will fulfill the notice requirements of this section by addressing the notice to the confidential commercial submitter or its legal successor at the address indicated on the records, or the last known address. If the notice is returned, the component will make a reasonable effort to locate the confidential commercial submitter or its legal successor. Where notification of a voluminous number of submitters is required, such notification may be accomplished by posting and publishing the notice in a place reasonably calculated to accomplish notification. mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with PROPOSALS § 70.27 Preservation of records. Each component will preserve all correspondence relating to the requests it receives under this part, and all records processed pursuant to such requests, until disposition or destruction of such correspondence and records is authorized by Title 44 of the United States Code or the National Archives and Records Administration’s General Records Schedule 14. Records VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:15 Aug 16, 2016 Jkt 238001 are not to be destroyed while they are the subject of a pending request, appeal, or lawsuit under the Act. § 70.28–70.37 [Reserved] Subpart C—Costs for Production of Records § 70.38 Definitions related to costs. The following definitions apply to this subpart: (a) Request, in this subpart, includes any request, as defined by Sec. 70.2(f), as well as any appeal filed in accordance with Sec. 70.22. (b) Direct costs means those expenditures which a component actually incurs in searching for and duplicating (and in the case of commercial use requests, reviewing) records to respond to a FOIA request. Direct costs include, for example, the salary of the Federal employee performing work (the basic rate of pay for the Federal employee plus 16 percent of that rate to cover benefits) and the cost of operating duplication machinery. Not included in direct costs are overhead expenses such as costs of space, heating or lighting the facility in which the records are kept. (c) Reproduction means the process of making a copy of a record necessary to respond to a request. Such copy can take the form of paper, microform, audio-visual materials or electronic records (such as a CD or other media). (d) Search means the process of looking for and retrieving records or information that is responsive to a FOIA request. It includes page-by-page or lineby-line identification of information within records and also includes reasonable efforts to locate and retrieve information from records maintained in electronic form or format. FOIA components will ensure that searches are done in the most efficient and least expensive manner reasonably possible. A search does not include the review of material, as defined in paragraph (e) of this section, which is performed to determine whether material is exempt from disclosure. (e) Review means the process of examining records, including audiovisual, electronic mail, etc., located in response to a request to determine whether any portion of the located record is exempt from disclosure, and accordingly may be withheld. It also includes the act of preparing materials for disclosure, i.e., doing all that is necessary to excise them and otherwise prepare them for release. Review time includes time spent contacting any submitter, and considering and responding to any objections to PO 00000 Frm 00029 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 disclosure made by a submitter under Sec. 70.26, but does not include time spent resolving general legal or policy issues regarding the application of exemptions. (f) Commercial use request means a request from or on behalf of a person who seeks information for a use or purpose that furthers his or her commercial, trade or profit interests, which can include furthering those interests through litigation. When considering fee issues, components will determine, whenever reasonably possible, the use to which a requester will put the requested records. When it appears that the requester will put the records to a commercial use, either because of the nature of the request itself or because a component has reasonable cause to doubt a requester’s stated use, the component will provide the requester a reasonable opportunity to submit further clarification. (g) Educational institution means an institution which: (1) Is a preschool, public or private elementary or secondary school, an institution of undergraduate higher education, an institution of graduate higher education, an institution of professional education, or an institution of vocational education, or (2) Operates a program or programs of scholarly research. To qualify under this definition, the program of scholarly research in connection with which the information is sought must be carried out under the auspices of the academic institution itself as opposed to the individual scholarly pursuits of persons affiliated with an institution. For example, a request from a professor for information that will assist in writing of a book, independent of his or her institutional responsibilities, would not qualify under this definition, whereas a request predicated upon research funding granted to the institution would meet its requirements. A request from a student enrolled in an individual course of study at an educational institution would not qualify as a request from the institution. (h) Non-commercial scientific institution means an institution that is not operated on a commercial basis 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. (i) Representative of the news media means 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. Examples of news media E:\FR\FM\17AUP1.SGM 17AUP1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 159 / Wednesday, August 17, 2016 / Proposed Rules 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, as well as news organizations that operate solely on the Internet. Alternative media may be considered to be news-media entities. These examples are not all inclusive. (1) Factors indicating status as a news media representative include press accreditation, guild membership, a history of continuing publication, business registration, and/or Federal Communication Commission licensing, among others. (2) For purposes of this definition, news contemplates information that is about current events or that would be of current interest to the public. (3) A freelance journalist will be treated as a representative of the news media if the person can demonstrate a solid basis for expecting publication of matters related to the requested information through a qualifying news media entity. A publication contract with a qualifying news media entity satisfies this requirement. An individual’s past publication record with such organizations is also relevant in making this determination. § 70.39 Statutes specifically providing for setting of fees. This subpart will not apply to fees charged under any statute, other than the FOIA, that specifically requires an agency to set and collect fees for particular types of records. mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with PROPOSALS § 70.40 Charges assessed for the production of records. (a) General. Components shall charge for processing requests under the FOIA in accordance with the provisions of this section and with the OMB Guidelines. In order to resolve any fee issues that arise under this section, a component may contact a requester for additional information. Components will ensure that searches, review, and duplication are conducted in the most efficient and least expensive manner. A component ordinarily will collect all applicable fees before sending copies of records to the requester. (b) There are three types of charges assessed in connection with the production of records in response to a request, specifically, charges for costs associated with: (1) Searching for or locating responsive records (search costs), (2) Reproducing such records (reproduction costs), and VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:15 Aug 16, 2016 Jkt 238001 (3) Reviewing records to determine whether any materials are exempt (review costs). (c)(1) There are four types of requesters: (i) Commercial use requesters, (ii) Educational and non-commercial scientific institutions, (iii) Representatives of the news media, and (iv) All other requesters. (2) Depending upon the type of requester, as set forth in paragraph (c)(1) of this section, the charges outlined in paragraph (d) of this section may be assessed. (d) Types of charges that will be assessed for each type of request. (1) Commercial use request. When a requester makes a commercial use request, search costs, reproduction costs and review costs will be assessed in their entirety. (2) Educational or non-commercial scientific institution request. When an educational or non-commercial scientific institution makes a request, only reproduction costs will be assessed, excluding charges for the first 100 pages. (3) Request by representative of news media. When a representative of the news media makes a request, only reproduction costs will be assessed, excluding charges for the first 100 pages. (4) All other requesters. Requesters making a request which does not fall within paragraphs (d)(1), (2), or (3) of this section will be charged search costs and reproduction costs, except that the first 100 pages of reproduction and the first two hours of search time will be furnished without charge. Where computer searches are involved, the monetary equivalent of two hours of search time by a professional employee will be deducted from the total cost of computer processing time. (e) Charges for each type of activity. (1) Search costs. (i) When a search for records is performed by a clerical employee, a rate of $5.00 per quarter hour will be applicable. When a search is performed by professional or supervisory personnel, a rate of $10.00 per quarter hour will be applicable. Components will charge for time spent searching even if they do not locate any responsive records or they withhold the records located as exempt from disclosure. (ii) For computer searches of records, requesters will be charged the direct costs of conducting the search, except as provided in paragraph (e)(4) of this section. (iii) If the search for requested records requires transportation of the searcher to PO 00000 Frm 00030 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 54777 the location of the records or transportation of the records to the searcher, all transportation costs in excess of $5.00 may be added to the search cost. (2) Reproduction costs. The standard copying charge for records in black and white paper copy is $0.15 per page. This charge includes the operator’s time to duplicate the record. When responsive information is provided in a format other than 81⁄2 × 11 or 11 × 14 inch black and white paper copy, such as computer tapes, disks and color copies, the requester may be charged the direct costs of the tape, disk, audio-visual or whatever medium is used to produce the information, as well as the direct cost of reproduction, including operator time. The component may request that if a medium is requested other than paper, the medium will be provided by the requester. (3) Review costs. Costs associated with the review of records, as defined in § 70.38(e), will be charged for work performed by a clerical employee at a rate of $5.00 per quarter hour when applicable. When professional or supervisory personnel perform work, a rate of $10.00 per quarter hour will be charged, when applicable. Except as noted in this paragraph, charges may only be assessed for review the first time the records are analyzed to determine the applicability of specific exemptions to the particular record or portion of the record. Thus a requester would not be charged for review at the administrative appeal level with regard to the applicability of an exemption already applied at the initial level. When, however, a record has been withheld pursuant to an exemption which is subsequently determined not to apply and is reviewed again at the appellate level to determine the potential applicability of other exemptions, the costs attendant to such additional review will be assessed. (4) Limitations on charging fees. If a component fails to comply with the time limits in which to respond to a request it shall not assess certain fees except: (i) If there are unusual circumstances (as that term is defined in Sec. 70.25(c)) and the component has provided timely written notice, the component is permitted ten additional days to respond to the request. After the expiration of the ten additional days, the component is no longer permitted to assess search fees or, in the instances of requests from requesters described in Sec. 70.38 (h) and (i), duplication fees. (ii) If there are unusual circumstances (as that term is defined in Sec. 70.25(c)), and more than 5,000 pages of E:\FR\FM\17AUP1.SGM 17AUP1 mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with PROPOSALS 54778 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 159 / Wednesday, August 17, 2016 / Proposed Rules documents are deemed to be responsive to the request, the component may continue to charge assessable fees for as long as it takes to process the request, provided that the component has provided timely written notice and discussed with the requester via telephone, email, or written mail (or made at least three good-faith attempts to do so) how the requester could effectively limit the scope of the pending request. (iii) If a court has determined that exceptional circumstances exist, as defined in the FOIA, 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(6)(C) the agency’s failure to comply with any time limits of the FOIA are excused for the length of time provided by the court order. (5) Mailing cost. Where requests for copies are sent by mail, no postage charge will be made for transmitting by regular mail a single copy of the requested record to the requester, or for mailing additional copies where the total postage cost does not exceed $5.00. However, where the volume of paper copy or method of transmittal requested is such that transmittal charges to the Department are in excess of $5.00, the transmittal costs will be added. (f) Aggregating requests for purposes of assessing costs. (1) Where a component reasonably believes that a requester or a group of requesters acting together is attempting to divide a request into a series of requests for the purpose of avoiding fees, the disclosure officer may aggregate those requests and charge accordingly. (2) Components may presume that multiple requests of this type made within a 30-day period have been submitted in order to avoid fees. Where requests are separated by a longer period, disclosure officers will aggregate them only where a solid basis exists for determining that aggregation is warranted under all of the circumstances involved. Multiple requests involving unrelated matters will not be aggregated. (g) Interest charges. Components will assess interest on an unpaid bill starting on the 31st day following the 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 date of the billing until payment is received by the component. Components 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) Authentication of copies. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:15 Aug 16, 2016 Jkt 238001 (1) Fees. The FOIA does not require certification or attestation under seal of copies of records provided in accordance with its provisions. Pursuant to provisions of the general user-charger statute, 31 U.S.C. 9701 and Subchapter II of title 29 U.S.C., the following charges will be made when, upon request, such services are rendered by the agency in its discretion: (i) For certification of true copies, $10.00 each certification. (ii) For attestation under the seal of the Department, $10.00 each attestation under seal. (2) Authority and form for attestation under seal. Authority is hereby given to any officer or officers of the Department of Labor designated as authentication officer or officers of the Department to sign and issue attestations under the seal of the Department of Labor. (i) Transcripts. Fees for transcripts of an agency proceeding, as defined in the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 5521(12) will be assessed in accordance with the provisions of this subpart. (j) Privacy Act requesters. A request from an individual or on behalf of an individual for a record maintained by that individual’s name or other unique identifier which is contained within a component’s system of records, will be treated under the fee provisions at 29 CFR 71.6. § 70.41 Waiver or reduction of fees. (a) Requirements for waiver or reduction of fees. (1) Records responsive to a request will be furnished without charge or at a charge reduced below that established under paragraph (e) of Sec. 70.40, where a Component determines, based on all available information, that the requester has demonstrated that: (i) 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 (ii) Disclosure of the information is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester. (2) To determine whether the requirement of paragraph (a)(1)(i) of this section is met, components will consider the following factors: (i) The subject of the request: Whether the subject of the requested records concerns ‘‘the operations or activities of the government.’’ The subject of the requested records must concern identifiable operations or activities of the federal government, with a connection that is direct and clear, not remote or attenuated. PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 (ii) The informative value of the information to be disclosed: Whether the disclosure is ‘‘likely to contribute’’ to an understanding of government operations or activities. The disclosable portions of the requested records must be meaningfully informative about government operations or activities in order to be ‘‘likely to contribute’’ to an increased public understanding of those operations or activities. The disclosure of information that already is in the public domain, in either a duplicative or a substantially identical form, would not be as likely to contribute to such understanding where nothing new would be added to the public’s understanding. (iii) The contribution to an understanding of the subject by the public likely to result from disclosure: Whether disclosure of the requested information will contribute to ‘‘public understanding.’’ 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 and ability and intention to effectively convey information to the public will be considered. It will be presumed that a representative of the news media will satisfy this consideration. (iv) The significance of the contribution to public understanding: Whether the disclosure is likely to contribute ‘‘significantly’’ to the public understanding of government operations or activities. The public’s understanding of the subject in question must be enhanced by the disclosure to a significant extent. (3) To determine whether the requirement of paragraph (a)(1)(ii) of this section is met, components will consider the following factors: (i) The existence and magnitude of a commercial interest: Whether the requester has a commercial interest that would be furthered by the requested disclosure. The component will consider any commercial interest of the requester (with reference to the definition of ‘‘commercial use request’’ in Sec. 70.38(f)), or of any person on whose behalf the requester may be acting, that would be furthered by the requested disclosure. Requesters will be given an opportunity in the administrative process to provide explanatory information regarding this consideration. (ii) The primary interest in disclosure: Whether any identified commercial interest of the requester is sufficiently large, in comparison with the public interest in disclosure, that disclosure is E:\FR\FM\17AUP1.SGM 17AUP1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 159 / Wednesday, August 17, 2016 / Proposed Rules ‘‘primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.’’ A fee waiver or reduction is justified where the public interest standard is satisfied and that public interest is greater in magnitude than that of any identified commercial interest in disclosure. The component ordinarily will presume that where a news media requester has satisfied the public interest standard, the public interest will be the interest primarily served by disclosure to that 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. (4) Where only some of the records to be released satisfy the requirements for a waiver of fees, a waiver will be granted only for those records. (5) Requests for the waiver or reduction of fees should address the factors listed in paragraph (a) of this section, insofar as they apply to each request. (b) Submission. Requests for a waiver or reduction of fees should be made when the request is first submitted to the component 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 will be required to pay any costs incurred up to the date the fee waiver request was received. (c) Appeal rights. Requesters dissatisfied with treatment of fee waiver or reduction requests may follow the procedures for appeal under Sections 70.22 and 70.23. mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with PROPOSALS § 70.42 Consent to Pay Fees. (a) The Department will not assess or collect fees where the fee to be assessed, after deducting any free pages and/or search time, is less than $25.00. When making a request, a requester may specify a willingness to pay up to a certain amount, e.g., $50.00 or $200. (b) No request will be processed if a component reasonably believes that the fees are likely to exceed the amount to which the requester has originally consented, absent supplemental written consent by the requester to proceed after being notified of this determination. (c) When a component determines or estimates that the fees to be assessed in accordance with this section will exceed $25.00, the component shall notify the requester of the actual or estimated amount of the fees, including a breakdown of the fees for search, review VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:15 Aug 16, 2016 Jkt 238001 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 component must advise the requester accordingly. Such notice may invite the requester to reformulate the request to satisfy his or her needs at a lower cost. (d) Components must make available their FOIA contact to assist any requester in reformulating a request to meet the requester’s needs at a lower cost. § 70.43 Payment of fees. (a) De minimis costs. As noted in Sec. 70.42(a), the Department has determined it will not assess or collect fees below $25.00. In these cases, the cost of collecting and processing a fee equals or exceeds the amount of the fee which would otherwise be assessed. The Department will assess fees where the costs to be assessed, after deduction of any free pages and/or search time, is $25.00 or higher. (b) How payment will be made. Requesters will pay fees assessed by check or money order made payable to the Treasury of the United States, and sent to the component that is processing the request. (c) Advance payments and billing. (1) Prior to beginning to process a request, the component will make a preliminary assessment of the amount that can properly be charged to the requester for search and review time and copying costs. Where a component determines or estimates that a total fee to be charged under this section will be more than $250.00, the component will require the requester to make an advance payment of an amount up to the entire anticipated fee before beginning to process the request. The component may waive the advance payment where the component receives a satisfactory assurance of full payment from a requester who has a history of prompt payment of an amount similar to the one anticipated by the request. (2) Where a requester has previously failed to pay a properly charged FOIA fee to any component of the Department of Labor within 30 days of the date of billing, a component will require the requester to pay the full amount due, plus any applicable interest as provided in Sec. 70.40(f) and to make an advance payment of the full amount of any anticipated fee, before the component begins to process a new request or appeal or continues to process a pending request or appeal from that requester. (3) For a request other than those described in paragraphs (c)(1) and (2) of PO 00000 Frm 00032 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 54779 this section, a component will not require the requester to make an advance payment before beginning to process a request. Payment owed for work already completed on a request pursuant to consent of the requester is not an advance payment and a component may require the requester to make a payment for such work prior to releasing any records to the requester. (d) Time limits to respond extended when advance payments are requested. When a component has requested an advance payment of fees in accordance with paragraph (c) of this section, the time limits prescribed in Sec. 70.25 will only begin to run after the component has received the advance payment. § 70.44 Other rights and services. Nothing in this subpart will be construed to entitle any person, as of right, to any service or to the disclosure of any records to which such person is not entitled under the FOIA. § 70.45–70.52 [Reserved] Subpart D—Public Records and Filings § 70.53 Office of Labor-Management Standards. (a) The following documents in the custody of the Office of LaborManagement Standards are public information available for inspection and/or purchase of copies in accordance with paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section. (1) Data and information contained in any report or other document filed pursuant to sections 201, 202, 203, 211, 301 of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (73 Stat. 524–28, 530, 79 Stat. 888, 73 Stat. 530, 29 U.S.C. 431–433, 441, 461). (2) Data and information contained in any report or other document filed pursuant to the reporting requirements of 29 CFR part 458, which are the regulations implementing the standards of conduct provisions of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, 5 U.S.C. 7120, and the Foreign Service Act of 1980, 22 U.S.C. 4117. The reporting requirements are found in 29 CFR 458.3. (3) Data and information contained in any report or other document filed pursuant to the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995, 2 U.S.C. 1351, 109 Stat. 19. (b) The documents listed in paragraph (a) of this section are available from: U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Labor-Management Standards, Public Disclosure Room, N–5608, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210. Reports filed pursuant to section 201 of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 E:\FR\FM\17AUP1.SGM 17AUP1 54780 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 159 / Wednesday, August 17, 2016 / Proposed Rules and pursuant to 29 CFR 458.3 implementing the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 and the Foreign Service Act of 1980 for the year 2000 and thereafter are also available at http://www.unionreports.dol.gov. (c) Pursuant to 29 U.S.C. 435(c) which provides that the Secretary will by regulation provide for the furnishing of copies of the documents listed in paragraph (a) of this section, upon payment of a charge based upon the cost of the service, these documents are available at a cost of $ .15 per page for record copies furnished. Authentication of copies is available in accordance with the fee schedule established in Sec. 70.40. In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(4)(A)(vi), the provisions for fees, fee waivers and fee reductions in subpart C of this part do not supersede these charges for these documents. (d) Upon request of the Governor of a State for copies of any reports or documents filed pursuant to sections 201, 202, 203, or 211 of the LaborManagement Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (73 Stat. 524–528, 79 Stat. 888; 29 U.S.C. 431–433, 441), or for information contained therein, which have been filed by any person whose principal place of business or headquarters is in such State, the Office of Labor-Management Standards will: (1) Make available without payment of a charge to the State agency designated by law or by such Governor, such requested copies of information and data, or (2) Require the person who filed such reports and documents to furnish such copies or information and data directly to the State agency thus designated. mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with PROPOSALS § 70.54 Employee Benefits Security Administration. (a) The annual financial reports (Form 5500) and attachments/schedules as filed by employee benefit plans under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) are in the custody of the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) at the address indicated in paragraph (b) of this section, and the right to inspect and copy such reports, as authorized under ERISA, at the fees set forth in this part, may be exercised at such office. (b) The mailing address for the documents described in this section is: U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration, Public Documents Room, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210. Appendix A to Part 70—FOIA Components [FR Doc. 2016–18594 Filed 8–16–16; 8:45 am] The following list identifies the individual agency components of the Department of VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:15 Aug 16, 2016 Jkt 238001 Labor for the purposes of the FOIA. Each component is responsible for making records in its custody available for inspection and copying, in accordance with the provisions of the FOIA and this part. Unless otherwise specified, the mailing addresses for the following national office components are listed below. Updated contact information for national and regional offices can be found on the DOL Web site at http://www.dol.gov/dol/ foia. U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210. 1. Office of the Secretary (OSEC) 2. Office of the Solicitor (SOL) 3. Office of Administrative Law Judges (ALJ), 800 K Street NW., Suite N–400, Washington, DC 20001–8002 4. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management (OASAM), 5. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy (OASP). 6. Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO). 7. Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs (OCIA). 8. Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). 9. Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). 10. Office of the Inspector General (OIG). 11. Office of Labor Management Standards (OLMS). 12. Office of Public Affairs (OPA). 13. Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP). 14. Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB). 15. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Postal Square Building, Room 4040, 2 Massachusetts Avenue NE., Washington, DC 20212–0001. 16. Employment and Training Administration (ETA). Job Corps (part of ETA). 17. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), 201 12th Street, South, Arlington, Virginia 22202. 18. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). 19. Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA). 20. Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS). 21. Employees’ Compensation Appeals Board (ECAB). 22. Administrative Review Board (ARB). 23. Benefits Review Board (BRB). 24. Wage and Hour Division (WHD). 25. Women’s Bureau (WB). Signed at Washington, DC, on August 1, 2016. Thomas E. Perez, Secretary of Labor. BILLING CODE P PO 00000 Frm 00033 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA–R04–OAR–2016–0312; FRL–9950–81– Region 4] Air Plan Approval; Kentucky; Removal of Stage II Gasoline Vapor Recovery Program Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ACTION: Proposed rule. AGENCY: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve changes to the Kentucky State Implementation Plan (SIP) submitted by the Commonwealth of Kentucky through its Energy and Environment Cabinet (EEC) on May 3, 2016. This SIP revision seeks to remove Stage II vapor control requirements for new and upgraded gasoline dispensing facilities in the State and allow for the decommissioning of existing Stage II equipment in Boone, Campbell and Kenton Counties in Kentucky. EPA has preliminarily determined that Kentucky’s May 3, 2016, SIP revision is approvable because it is consistent with the Clean Air Act (CAA or Act). DATES: Written comments must be received on or before September 16, 2016. SUMMARY: Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA–R04– OAR–2016–0312 at http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Once submitted, comments cannot be edited or removed from Regulations.gov. EPA may publish any comment received to its public docket. Do not submit electronically any information you consider to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Multimedia submissions (audio, video, etc.) must be accompanied by a written comment. The written comment is considered the official comment and should include discussion of all points you wish to make. EPA will generally not consider comments or comment contents located outside of the primary submission (i.e. on the web, cloud, or other file sharing system). For additional submission methods, the full EPA public comment policy, information about CBI or multimedia submissions, and general guidance on making effective comments, please visit http://www2.epa.gov/dockets/ commenting-epa-dockets. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kelly Sheckler, Air Regulatory ADDRESSES: E:\FR\FM\17AUP1.SGM 17AUP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 159 (Wednesday, August 17, 2016)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 54770-54780]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-18594]


=======================================================================
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 DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Office of the Secretary

29 CFR Part 70

RIN 1290-AA30


Revision of the DOL FOIA Regulations

AGENCY: Office of the Secretary, Department of Labor.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking, request for comments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: This rule proposes revisions to the Department of Labor's 
regulations under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), found in our 
regulations. The regulations are being revised to update and streamline 
the language of several procedural provisions, and to incorporate 
changes brought about by amendments to the FOIA under the OPEN 
Government Act of 2007 and the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016.

DATES: Written comments must be postmarked and electronic comments must 
be submitted on or before October 17, 2016. Comments received by mail 
will be considered timely if they are postmarked on or before that 
date. The electronic Federal Docket Management System (https://www.regulations.gov) will accept comments until Midnight Eastern Time 
at the end of that day.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: https//www.regulations.gov.
     FAX: (202) 693-5389. Send your comments to the attention 
of Ramona Branch Oliver.
     Mail: Ramona Branch Oliver, Director, Office of 
Information Services, MALS Division, Office of the Solicitor, U.S. 
Department of Labor, Suite N-2420, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., 
Washington, DC 20210.
     E-mail: oliver.ramona@dol.gov. Please indicate ``Comments 
on FOIA Rule'' in the subject line.
     To ensure proper handling, please reference Docket No. 
DOL-2016-007 on your correspondence.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ramona Branch Oliver, Director, Office 
of Information Services, 202-693-5391.
    Discussion: This rule proposes revisions to the Department's 
regulations under the FOIA, found at 29 CFR part 70, to update and 
streamline the language of several procedural provisions and to 
incorporate certain of the changes brought about by the amendments to 
the FOIA under the OPEN Government Act of 2007, Public Law 110-175, 121 
Stat. 2524 and the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016, Public Law 114-185,130 
Stat. 538 (enacted June 30, 2016). The Department of Labor last 
published FOIA regulations on May 30, 2006.
    The proposed revisions to the Department's FOIA regulations in 29 
CFR part 70 incorporate changes to the language and structure of the 
regulations. Revised provisions include Sec.  70.1 (General 
provisions), Sec.  70.2 (Definitions), Sec.  70.3 (Policy), Sec.  70.4 
(Proactive disclosure of Department records), Sec.  70.19 (Requirements 
for making a request), Sec.  70.20 (Responsibility for responding to 
requests), Sec.  70.21 (Responses to requests), Sec.  70.25 (Time 
limits and order in which requests must be processed), Sec.  70.38 
(Definitions related to costs), and Sec.  70.40 (Charges assessed for 
the production of records). Current sections have been renamed Sec.  
70.1 (from Purpose and scope to General provisions), Sec.  70.4 (from 
Public reading rooms to Proactive disclosure of Departmental records), 
Sec.  70.19 (from Requests for access to records to Requirements for 
making requests), Sec.  70.21 (from Form and content of responses to 
Responses to requests), and Sec.  70.26 (from Business information to 
Confidential commercial information). Also, in lieu of using the term 
``disclosure officer,'' DOL is using the word ``component'' to refer to 
the decentralized agency FOIA components throughout the draft 
regulation.
    As the Department of Labor was completing preparation of this 
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to update its FOIA regulation, Congress 
passed on June 13, 2016 and the President signed on June 30, 2016, the 
FOIA Improvement Act of 2016. The Department has incorporated changes 
to this proposed rule to address provisions of the FOIA Improvement Act 
of 2016. Specifically, the following sections of this NPRM were revised 
to reflect statutory changes: Section 70.1(d) and (f); Sec. 70.3; Sec. 
70.4; Sec. 70.19(d); Sec. 70.21(d) and (e); Sec. 70.25(c); and Sec. 
70.40(e). Comments on these proposed provisions based on the text of 
the amended statute are welcomed. The Department will consider those 
comments, along with any other comments received, and if appropriate 
will revise the regulation to ensure the rule aligns with the amended 
statute.
    Regulatory Flexibility Act: The Secretary of Labor, in accordance 
with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 605(b)), has reviewed 
this regulation and by approving it certifies that this regulation will 
not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. Under the FOIA, agencies may recover only the direct costs of 
searching for, reviewing, and duplicating the records processed for 
requesters, and only for certain classes of requester and when 
particular conditions are satisfied. Thus, fees assessed by the 
Department are nominal. Further, the ``small entities'' that make FOIA 
requests, as compared with individual requesters and other requesters, 
are relatively few in number.
    EO 12866: This regulation has been drafted and reviewed in 
accordance

[[Page 54771]]

with Executive Order 12866, Sec.  1(b), Principles of Regulation. The 
Office of Management and Budget has determined that this rule is not a 
``significant regulatory action'' under Executive Order 12866, Sec.  
3(f), Regulatory Planning and Review, and accordingly this rule has not 
been reviewed by that Office.
    Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995: This rule will not result in 
the expenditure by State, local, and Tribal governments, in the 
aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100,000,000 or more in any one 
year, and it will not significantly or uniquely affect small 
governments. Therefore, no actions were deemed necessary under the 
provisions of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995.
    Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1995: This 
rule is not a major rule as defined by section 251 of the Small 
Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (as amended), 5 
U.S.C. 804. This rule will not result in an annual effect on the 
economy of $100,000,000 or more; a major increase in costs or prices; 
or significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, 
productivity, innovation, or on the ability of United States-based 
companies to compete with foreign-based companies in domestic and 
export markets.

List of Subjects in 29 CFR Parts 70

    Administrative practice and procedure; Freedom of Information Act; 
Privacy.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, the Department of Labor 
proposes to amend 29 CFR part 70, as follows:

PART 70--PRODUCTION OR DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION OR MATERIALS

Subpart A--General
Sec.
70.1 General provisions.
70.2 Definitions.
70.3 Policy.
70.4 Proactive disclosure of Departmental records.
70.5 Compilation of new records.
70.6 Disclosure of originals.
70.7-70.18 [Reserved]
Subpart B--Procedures for Disclosure of Records Under the Freedom of 
Information Act
70.19 Requirements for making a request.
70.20 Responsibility for responding to requests.
70.21 Responses to requests.
70.22 Appeals from denial of requests.
70.23 Action on appeals.
70.24 Form and content of action on appeals.
70.25 Time limits and order in which requests and appeals must be 
processed.
70.26 Confidential commercial information.
70.27 Preservation of records.
70.28-70.37 [Reserved]
Subpart C--Costs for Production of Records
70.38 Definitions related to costs.
70.39 Statutes specifically providing for setting of fees.
70.40 Charges assessed for the production of records.
70.41 Reduction or waiver of fees.
70.42 Consent to pay fees.
70.43 Payment of fees.
70.44 Other rights and services.
70.45-70.52 [Reserved]
Subpart D--Public Records and Filings
70.53 Office of Labor-Management Standards.
70.54 Employee Benefits Security Administration.
Appendix A to Part 70--FOIA Components
Appendix B to Part 70--[Reserved]

    Authority:  5 U.S.C. 301, 29 U.S.C. 551 et seq., 5 U.S.C. 552, 
as amended; Reorganization Plan No. 6 of 1950, 5 U.S.C. Appendix, 29 
U.S.C. 1026 (106), 5 U.S.C. app. 11., E.O. 12600, 52 FR 23781, 3 
CFR, 1988 Comp., p. 235. This part also implements the public 
information provisions of the Labor-Management Reporting and 
Disclosure Act (LMRDA), 29 U.S.C. 435, see Sec.  70.53 below; the 
Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. 
1026 (106), see Sec.  70.54 below; and the Federal Advisory 
Committee Act (FACA), 5 U.S.C. app. 11, see Sec.  70.40(i) below.

Subpart A--General


Sec.  70.1  General provisions.

    (a) This part is organized as follows: subpart A contains general 
information about Department of Labor policies and procedures; subpart 
B sets forth the procedures for obtaining access to records of the 
Department; subpart C contains the Department's regulations on fees; 
and subpart D sets forth the procedures for obtaining access to certain 
public records. Appendix A contains a list of all Department of Labor 
FOIA components from whom records may be obtained.
    (b) This part contains the rules that the Department of Labor 
follows in processing requests for records under the Freedom of 
Information Act (FOIA), as amended, 5 U.S.C. 552. The rules in this 
part should be read together with the text of the FOIA, which provides 
additional information about access to records maintained by the 
Department. Additionally, the Department's ``Guide to Submitting 
Requests under the FOIA'' and related documents contain helpful 
information about the specific procedures particular to the Department 
with respect to making FOIA requests, and descriptions of the types of 
records maintained by different components of the Department. These 
references are available at http://www.dol.gov/dol/foia/guide6.html.
    (c) Requests made by individuals for records about themselves under 
the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a, are processed under 29 CFR part 
71 as well as under this part. Information routinely provided to the 
public as part of a regular Department activity (for example, press 
releases issued by the Office of Public Affairs (OPA)) may be provided 
to the public without following this subpart.
    (d) As set forth in Sec. 70.3, the Department operates its FOIA 
program with a presumption of openness and withholds records or 
information under the FOIA only when the Department reasonably foresees 
that disclosure would harm an interest protected by a FOIA exemption or 
when disclosure is prohibited by law.
    (e) The Department has a decentralized system for processing 
requests, with each component handling requests for its own records. 
Each component has a FOIA Customer Service Center that can assist 
individuals in locating records and address questions regarding pending 
FOIA requests. A list of the Department's Customer Service Centers is 
available at http://www.dol.gov/dol/foia/RequestorServiceCenters.htm.
    (f) The Secretary has designated a Chief FOIA Officer for the 
Department. Contact information for the Chief FOIA Officer is available 
on the Department's FOIA Web site, http://www.dol.gov/dol/foia/. The 
Office of Information Services (OIS), which is located within the 
Office of the Solicitor, provides Department level guidance and 
oversight for the Department's FOIA program and supports the 
statutorily-based responsibilities of the DOL Chief FOIA Officer.
    (g) The Department has a designated FOIA Public Liaison who can 
assist individuals in locating records of a particular component and 
with resolving issues relating to the processing of a pending FOIA 
request. Information concerning the DOL FOIA Public Liaison is 
available at http://www.dol.gov/sol/foia/liaison.htm. The DOL FOIA 
Public Liaison is responsible for assisting in reducing delays in FOIA 
processing, increasing transparency and understanding, providing 
information concerning the status of requests, and assisting in the 
resolution of disputes.

[[Page 54772]]

Sec.  70.2  Definitions.

    As used in this part:
    (a) The terms agency, person, party, rule, order, and adjudication 
have the meaning attributed to these terms by the definitions in 5 
U.S.C. 551.
    (b) Confidential commercial information means commercial or 
financial information received or obtained by the Department from a 
submitter, directly or indirectly, that arguably may be protected from 
disclosure under Exemption 4 of the FOIA.
    (c) The Department means the Department of Labor.
    (d) FOIA Component means an official component of the Department 
that has authority to disclose or withhold records under the FOIA and 
to whom requests to inspect or copy records in its custody should be 
addressed. Department of Labor components are listed in Appendix A to 
this part.
    (e) Record means any information that would be an agency record 
subject to the requirements of this part when maintained by an agency 
in any format, including an electronic format, and any information 
described under this part that is maintained for an agency by an entity 
under Government contract, for the purposes of records management.
    (f) Request means any written request for records made pursuant to 
5 U.S.C. 552(a)(3) and which meets the requirements of this part.
    (g) Requester means any person who makes a request.
    (h) Search means to look for, manually or by automated means, 
Department records for the purpose of locating them in response to a 
pending request.
    (i) The Secretary means the Secretary of Labor.
    (j) Submitter means any person or entity from whom the Department 
receives or obtains confidential commercial or financial information, 
directly or indirectly. The term submitter includes, but is not limited 
to corporations, labor organizations, non-profit organizations, and 
local, state, and tribal and foreign governments.
    (k) Unusual circumstances means, to the extent reasonably necessary 
for the proper processing of a FOIA request:
    (1) The need to search for and collect the requested records from 
physically separate facilities;
    (2) The need to search for, collect, and appropriately examine a 
voluminous amount of separate and distinct records that are demanded in 
a single request; or
    (3) The need for consultation, which will be conducted with all 
practicable speed, with another agency having a substantial interest in 
the determination of the request.


Sec.  70.3  Policy.

    All agency records, except those exempt from mandatory disclosure 
by one or more provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552(b), will be made promptly 
available to any person submitting a written request in accordance with 
the procedures of this part. The Department will withhold records under 
the FOIA only when the Department reasonably foresees that disclosure 
would harm an interest protected by a FOIA exemption or is prohibited 
by law. Whenever the Department determines that full disclosure of a 
requested record is not possible, the Department will consider whether 
partial disclosure is possible and will take reasonable steps to 
segregate and release nonexempt material. As set forth in Sec. 70.4, 
the Department proactively identifies and discloses records of interest 
to the public.


Sec.  70.4  Proactive disclosure of Departmental records.

    Records that are required by the FOIA, 5 U.S.C. 552 (a)(2), to be 
made available for public inspection in an electronic format may be 
accessed through the Department's Web site at http://www.dol.gov/dol/foia/. Each component is responsible for determining which of its 
records are required to be made publicly available, as well as 
identifying additional records of interest to the public that are 
appropriate for public disclosure, and for posting and indexing such 
records. Each component must review and update its Web site of posted 
records and indices on an ongoing basis.


Sec.  70.5  Compilation of new records.

    Nothing in 5 U.S.C. 552 or this part requires that any agency or 
component create a new record in order to respond to a request for 
records. A component must, however, make reasonable efforts to search 
for records that already exist in electronic form or format, except 
when such efforts would significantly interfere with the operation of 
the component's automated information systems. The component will 
determine what constitutes a reasonable effort on a case-by-case basis.


Sec.  70.6  Disclosure of originals.

    (a) No original record or file in the custody of the Department of 
Labor, or of any component or official thereof, will on any occasion be 
given to any agent, attorney, or other person not officially connected 
with the Department without the written consent of the Secretary, the 
Solicitor of Labor or the Inspector General.
    (b) The individual authorizing the release of the original record 
or file must ensure that a copy of the document or file is retained in 
the component that had custody and/or control when an original document 
or file is released pursuant to this subpart.


Sec.  70.7-70.18  [Reserved]

Subpart B--Procedures for Disclosure of Records Under the Freedom 
of Information Act


Sec.  70.19  Requirements for making a request.

    (a) General information. The Department of Labor has a 
decentralized system for responding to requests submitted under the 
FOIA. Each agency component has the ability to receive FOIA requests in 
writing by mail, delivery service/courier or facsimile at its 
designated mailing address. Any FOIA request submitted electronically, 
by email, must be submitted to foiarequests@dol.gov. Requests under 
this part submitted to any other email address will not be accepted.
    (b) To make a request for records of the Department, whenever 
possible, a requester should write directly to the FOIA office of the 
component that maintains the records sought. Submitting the request 
directly to the FOIA office of the component that maintains the records 
sought will facilitate the quickest response. The requester must 
provide a mailing address to receive correspondence, and it may 
facilitate processing if telephone and email contact information are 
provided.
    (1) The Department's components for the purposes of the FOIA are 
listed in Appendix A to this part. The function and mailing address of 
each Department of Labor component is available on the Department's 
FOIA Web site at http://www.dol.gov/dol.foia. This page also provides 
other information that is helpful in determining where to make a 
request.
    (2) Requesters who cannot determine the proper FOIA office 
component or who are requesting records from multiple components may 
also send requests to the Office of the Solicitor, Office of 
Information Services, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Room N-2420, 
Washington, DC 20210 or by email to foiarequests@dol.gov. Note that, 
pursuant to Sec. 70.25(a), the time for the component to respond to a 
request begins to run when the request is received by the proper 
component, but no later than 10 working days after

[[Page 54773]]

receipt in any component identified in Appendix A.
    (c) Description of records sought. Requesters must describe the 
record or records sought in sufficient detail to enable Department 
personnel to locate them with a reasonable amount of effort. To the 
extent possible, the request should provide enough identifying 
information to help the component identify the requested records, such 
as the subject of the record, the date or approximate date when the 
record was created, the record's title or name, case or file number, 
reference number, the person or office or the office location that 
created it, and any other pertinent identifying details. Prior to 
submitting the request, a requester may wish to consult the references 
provided in Sec. 70.1, the relevant FOIA Requester Service Center or 
the FOIA Public Liaison to discuss the records they are seeking and to 
receive assistance on how to describe the records.
    (d) Deficient descriptions and revised requests. If the description 
is insufficient, so that a knowledgeable employee who is familiar with 
the subject area of the request cannot identify the record with a 
reasonable amount of effort, the component processing the request will 
notify the requester and describe what additional information is needed 
to process the request.
    (1) Requesters who are attempting to modify or reformulate their 
requests may discuss their requests with the component's designated 
FOIA contact, the FOIA Public Liaison, or a representative of OIS, each 
of whom is available to assist the requester in reasonably describing 
the records sought. Every reasonable effort will be made to assist a 
requester in the identification and location of the records sought. If 
the requester fails to reasonably describe the records sought, the 
agency's response to the request may be delayed.
    (2) Any amended request must be confirmed in writing and meet the 
requirements for a request under this part.
    (3) While an agency component awaits a requester's modified FOIA 
request, the processing time limits described in Sec. 70.25(a)(1) will 
be tolled (that is, the processing time clock will be stopped) until 
clarification is received from the requester.


Sec.  70.20  Responsibility for responding to requests.

    (a) In general. Except in the instances stated in paragraph (d) of 
this section, the component that first receives a request for a record 
and maintains that record is the component responsible for responding 
to the request. In determining which records are responsive to a 
request, a component ordinarily will include only records in its 
possession as of the date that the component begins the search; if any 
other date is used, the component will inform the requester of that 
date. A record that is excluded from the requirements of the FOIA 
pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552(c), is not considered responsive to a request. 
When it is determined that records responsive to a request may be 
located in multiple components of the Department, the Office of 
Information Services may coordinate the Department's response. If the 
Office of Information Services deems a consolidated response 
appropriate, it will issue such a response on behalf of the Department.
    (b) Authority to grant or deny requests. Pursuant to relevant 
exemptions under 5 U.S.C. 552(b), the head of a component, or designee, 
is authorized to grant or to deny any requests for records that are 
maintained by that component.
    (c) Re-routing of misdirected requests. Where a component's FOIA 
office determines that a request was misdirected within the Department, 
the receiving component's FOIA office will work with OIS to facilitate 
the routing of the request to the FOIA office of the proper 
component(s).
    (d) Consultations and referrals. When a component receives a 
request for a record, it will determine if another component of the 
Department, or of the Federal Government, is better able to determine 
whether the record can be disclosed or is exempt from disclosure under 
the FOIA. If the receiving component determines that it is not best 
able to process the record, then the receiving component will either:
    (1) Respond to the request after consulting with the component or 
agency best able to determine whether to disclose the record and with 
any other component or agency that has a substantial interest in the 
record; or
    (2) Refer the responsibility for responding to the request 
regarding that record to the component best able to determine whether 
to disclose it, or to another agency that originated the record (but 
only if that entity is subject to the FOIA). Ordinarily, the component 
or agency that originated the record will be presumed to be best able 
to determine whether to disclose it.
    (e) Notice of referral. Whenever a component refers all or any part 
of the responsibility for responding to a request to another component 
or agency, the component will notify the requester of the referral and 
inform the requester of the name of each component or agency to which 
the request has been referred and provide contact information for that 
component or agency.
    (f) Classified records. Any request for classified records which 
are in the custody of the Department of Labor will be referred to the 
classifying agency under paragraphs (d) and (e) of this section.


Sec.  70.21  Responses to requests.

    (a) In general. Components should, to the extent practicable, 
communicate with requesters using the method that is most likely to 
increase the speed and efficiency of the communication, including by 
electronic means, such as by email.
    (b) Acknowledgements of requests. A component will acknowledge each 
new request and assign it an individualized tracking number. Components 
will include in the acknowledgment a brief description of the records 
sought to allow the requesters to more easily keep track of their 
requests.
    (c) Granting a request. After a component makes a determination to 
grant a request in full or in part, the component will notify the 
requester in writing. The component will provide the record in the form 
or format requested if the record is readily reproducible in that form 
or format, provided the requester has agreed to pay and/or has paid any 
fees required by subpart C of this part. The component will determine 
on a case-by-case basis what constitutes a readily reproducible format. 
Each component should make reasonable efforts to maintain its records 
in commonly reproducible forms or formats.
    (d) Adverse determinations of requests. A component making an 
adverse determination denying a request in any respect must notify the 
requester in writing. Adverse determinations, or denials of requests, 
include decisions that: the requested record is exempt, in whole or in 
part, from release pursuant to one or more exemptions under the FOIA, 5 
U.S.C. 552; the request does not reasonably describe the records 
sought; the information requested is not a record subject to the FOIA; 
the requested record does not exist, cannot be located, or has been 
destroyed; or the requested record is not readily producible in the 
form or format sought by the requester. Adverse determinations also 
include denials involving fees or fee waiver matters or denials for 
requests for expedited processing.

[[Page 54774]]

    (e) Content of the denial. The denial notice must be signed by the 
component agency head or a designee and will include:
    (1) The name and title or position of the person responsible for 
the denial;
    (2) A brief statement of the reason or reasons for the denial, 
including any FOIA exemption or exemptions applied or procedural 
reasons relied upon by the component in denying the request;
    (3) An estimate of the volume of records or information withheld, 
in number of pages or in some other reasonable form of estimation. This 
estimate does not need to be provided if the volume is otherwise 
indicated through deletions on records disclosed in part, or if 
providing an estimate would harm an interest protected by the exemption 
under which the deletion was made;
    (4) The right of the requester to seek assistance from the FOIA 
Public Liaison; and
    (5) In the case of an adverse determination:
    (i) a statement that the denial may be appealed as described under 
Sec. 70.22; and
    (ii) a statement notifying the requester of the right to seek 
dispute resolution services from the Department's FOIA Public Liaison 
or the Office of Government Information Services (within the National 
Archives and Records Administration).
    (f) Markings on released documents. Markings on released documents 
must be clearly visible to the requester. Records disclosed in part 
shall be marked to show the amount of information deleted and the 
exemption(s) under which the deletion was made unless doing so would 
harm an interest protected by an applicable exemption. The location of 
the information deleted shall also be indicated on the records, if 
technically feasible.


Sec.  70.22  Appeals from denial of requests.

    (a) A requester may appeal to the Solicitor of Labor when one or 
more of the following has occurred: A request for access to records has 
been denied in whole or in part; a requester disputes a determination 
that records cannot be located or have been destroyed; a requester 
disputes a determination by a component concerning the assessment or 
waiver of fees; a requester disputes the denial of a request for 
expedited processing or a component fails to respond to a request 
within the time limits set forth in the FOIA. The appeal must be filed 
within 90 days of the date of the action being appealed.
    (b) The appeal must state in writing the grounds for appeal, and it 
may include any supporting statements or arguments, but such statements 
are not required. In order to facilitate processing of the appeal, the 
appeal must include the assigned request number (if applicable), 
appellant's mailing address and daytime telephone number, as well as 
copies of the initial request and the component's response. If mailed, 
the envelope and the letter of appeal should be clearly marked: 
``Freedom of Information Act Appeal.'' Any amendment to the appeal must 
be in writing and received prior to a decision on the appeal.
    (c) The appeal should be addressed to the Solicitor of Labor, 
Office of the Solicitor, FOIA Appeals Unit, Division of Management and 
Administrative Legal Services, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 
Constitution Avenue NW., Room N-2420, Washington, DC 20210. Appeals 
also may be submitted by fax to 202-693-5538 or by email to 
foiaappeal@dol.gov. Appeals submitted to any other email address will 
not be accepted.


Sec.  70.23  Action on appeals.

    The Solicitor of Labor, or designee, will review the appellant's 
appeal and make a determination de novo whether the action of the 
component was proper and in accordance with the applicable law.


Sec.  70.24  Form and content of action on appeals.

    The disposition of an appeal will be issued by the Solicitor of 
Labor or designee in writing. A decision affirming, in whole or in 
part, the decision below will include a brief statement of the reason 
or reasons for the affirmance, including the FOIA exemption or 
exemptions relied upon, and its relation to each record withheld. 
Consistent with the statute, the appeal determination will also advise 
the requester of the availability of the mediation services of the 
Office of Government Information Services as a non-exclusive 
alternative to litigation, and the statutory right to judicial review 
of the denial by the United States District Court for the judicial 
district in which the requester resides or maintains his or her 
principal place of business, the judicial district in which the 
requested records are located, or the District of Columbia. If it is 
determined on appeal that a record should be disclosed, the record will 
be provided in accordance with the decision on appeal. If it is 
determined that records should be denied in whole or in part, the 
appeal determination will include an estimate of the volume of records 
or information withheld, in number of pages or in some other reasonable 
form of estimation. This estimate does not need to be provided if the 
volume is otherwise indicated through deletions on records disclosed in 
part, or if providing an estimate would harm an interest protected by 
an applicable exemption.


Sec.  70.25  Time limits and order in which requests and appeals must 
be processed.

    (a) Time limits. The FOIA establishes a 20 business day deadline 
for regular requests and appeals, and a 10 calendar day time limit for 
making determinations regarding expedited processing. Components of the 
Department of Labor will comply with the time limits required by the 
FOIA for responding to and processing requests and appeals, unless 
there are exceptional circumstances within the meaning of 5 U.S.C. 
552(a)(6)(C). A component or the designated appeal authority will 
notify a requester whenever they are unable to respond to or process 
the request or appeal within the time limits established by the FOIA.
    (b) Multitrack processing. All components must designate a specific 
track for requests that are granted expedited processing, in accordance 
with the standards set forth in paragraph (d) of this section. A 
component may also designate additional processing tracks that 
distinguish between simple and complex requests based on the estimated 
amount of work and/or time needed to process the request, including 
based on the number of pages involved and the need for consultations or 
referrals. Components shall advise the requesters of the track into 
which their request falls and, when appropriate, shall offer the 
requester an opportunity to limit the scope of their requests in order 
to qualify for faster processing within the specified limits of the 
component's faster track.
    (c) Unusual circumstances.
    (1) Where the statutory time limits for processing a request cannot 
be met because of ``unusual circumstances,'' as set forth in the FOIA 
at 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(6)(B)(i-iii), and the component determines to extend 
the time limits on that basis, the component shall, before the 
expiration of the 20 working day deadline to respond, notify the 
requester in writing of the unusual circumstances and of the date by 
which processing of the request can be expected to be completed. This 
extension should not ordinarily exceed ten business days. If the 
component intends to extend the

[[Page 54775]]

deadline to respond by more than ten working days, the component must:
    (i) Provide the requester with an opportunity either to modify the 
request so that it may be processed within the time limits or to 
arrange an alternative time period with the component for processing 
the request or a modified request;
    (ii) Make available to the requester the contact information for 
the designated FOIA contact and the FOIA Public Liaison to assist the 
requester; and
    (iii) Notify the requester of the right to seek dispute resolution 
services from the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS).
    (d) Aggregating requests. Where a component reasonably believes 
that multiple requests submitted by a requester, or by a group of 
requesters acting in concert, constitute a single request that would 
otherwise involve unusual circumstances, and the requests involve 
clearly related matters, they may be aggregated. Components shall not 
aggregate multiple requests involving unrelated matters.
    (e) Expedited processing.
    (1) Requests and appeals will be taken out of order and given 
expedited treatment whenever it is determined that they involve:
    (i) Circumstances in which the lack of expedited treatment could 
reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or 
physical safety of an individual;
    (ii) An urgency to inform the public about an actual or alleged 
federal government activity, if made by a person primarily engaged in 
disseminating information;
    (iii) The loss of substantial due process rights; or
    (iv) A matter of widespread and exceptional media interest in which 
there exists possible questions about the government's integrity which 
affect public confidence.
    (2) A request for expedited processing may be made at the time of 
the initial request for records or at any later time. For a prompt 
determination, a request for expedited processing must be received by 
the proper component. Requests based on paragraphs (e)(1)(i), (ii), 
(iii), and (iv) of this section must be submitted to the component that 
maintains the records requested.
    (3) A requester who seeks expedited processing must submit a 
statement, certified to be true and correct to the best of that 
person's knowledge and belief, explaining in detail the basis for 
requesting expedited processing. For example, a requester within the 
category in paragraph (e)(1)(ii) of this section, if not a full-time 
member of the news media, must establish that he or she is a person 
whose main professional activity or occupation is information 
dissemination, though it need not be his or her sole occupation. Such a 
requester also must establish a particular urgency to inform the public 
about the government activity involved in the request--one that goes 
beyond the public's general right to know about government activity. 
The existence of numerous articles published on a given subject can be 
helpful in establishing the requirement that there be an ``urgency to 
inform'' the public on a topic. As a matter of administrative 
discretion, a component may waive the formality of certification.
    (4) Within ten calendar days of its receipt of a request for 
expedited processing, the proper component will decide whether to grant 
the request and will notify the requester of the decision. If a request 
for expedited treatment is granted, the request will be given priority 
and will be processed as soon as practicable. If a request for 
expedited processing is denied, any appeal of that decision will be 
acted on expeditiously.


Sec.  70.26   Confidential commercial information.

    (a) In general. Confidential commercial information will be 
disclosed under the FOIA only in accordance with this section and E.O. 
12,600, ``Predisclosure Notification Procedures for Confidential 
Commercial Information.''
    (b) Designation of confidential commercial information. A submitter 
of confidential commercial information will use good-faith efforts to 
designate, by appropriate markings, either at the time of submission or 
at a reasonable time thereafter, any portions of its submission that it 
considers to be protected from disclosure under Exemption 4. These 
designations will expire ten years after the date of the submission 
unless the submitter requests, and provides justification for, a longer 
designation period.
    (c) Notice to submitters. A component will provide a submitter with 
prompt written notice of a FOIA request that seeks its confidential 
commercial information whenever required under paragraph (d) of this 
section, except as provided in paragraph (g) of this section, in order 
to give the submitter an opportunity to object in writing to disclosure 
of any specified portion of that information under paragraph (e) of 
this section. The notice will either describe the confidential 
commercial information requested or include copies of the requested 
records or record portions containing the information. When 
notification to a voluminous number of submitters is required, 
notification may be made by posting or publishing notice reasonably 
likely to accomplish such notification.
    (d) When notice is required. Notice will be given to a submitter 
whenever:
    (1) The information requested under the FOIA has been designated in 
good faith by the submitter as information considered protected from 
disclosure under Exemption 4; or
    (2) A component has reason to believe that the information 
requested under the FOIA may be protected from disclosure under 
Exemption 4, but has not yet determined whether the information is 
protected from disclosure under that exemption or any other applicable 
exemption.
    (e) Opportunity to object to disclosure. A component will allow a 
submitter a reasonable time to respond to the notice described in 
paragraph (c) of this section taking into account the amount of 
material the submitter has to review and the deadlines imposed by the 
FOIA or agreed to with the requester. If a submitter has any objection 
to disclosure, it is required to submit a detailed written statement. 
The statement must show why the information is a trade secret or 
commercial or financial information that is privileged or confidential. 
In the event that a submitter fails to respond to the notice within the 
time specified, the submitter will be considered to have no objection 
to disclosure of the information. Information provided by a submitter 
under this paragraph may itself be subject to disclosure under the 
FOIA.
    (f) Notice of intent to disclose. A component will consider a 
submitter's timely objections and specific grounds for non-disclosure 
in deciding whether to disclose confidential commercial information. 
Whenever a component decides to disclose confidential commercial 
information over the objection of a submitter, the component will give 
the submitter written notice, which will include:
    (1) A statement of the reason(s) why each of the submitter's 
disclosure objections were not sustained;
    (2) A description of the confidential commercial information to be 
disclosed; and
    (3) A specified disclosure date, which will be a reasonable time 
subsequent to the notice.
    (g) Exceptions to notice requirements. The notice requirements of 
paragraphs (c) and (f) of this section will not apply if:
    (1) The component determines that the information should not be 
disclosed;

[[Page 54776]]

    (2) The information lawfully has been published or has been 
officially made available to the public;
    (3) Disclosure of the information is required by statute (other 
than the FOIA) or by a regulation issued in accordance with the 
requirements of Executive Order 12,600 (3 CFR 1988 Comp., p. 235); or
    (4) The designation made by the submitter under paragraph (b) of 
this section appears obviously frivolous or such a designation would be 
unsupportable--except that, in such a case, the component will, within 
a reasonable time prior to a specified disclosure date, give the 
submitter written notice of any final decision to disclose the 
information.
    (h) Notice of a FOIA lawsuit. Whenever a requester files a lawsuit 
seeking to compel the disclosure of confidential commercial 
information, the component will promptly notify the submitter.
    (i) Corresponding notice to requesters. Whenever a component 
provides a submitter with notice and an opportunity to object to 
disclosure under paragraphs (d) and (e) of this section, the component 
will also notify the requester(s). Whenever a component notifies a 
submitter of its intent to disclose requested information under 
paragraph (f) of this section, the component will also notify the 
requester(s). Whenever a submitter files a lawsuit seeking to prevent 
the disclosure of confidential commercial information, the component 
will notify the requester(s).
    (j) Notice requirements. The component will fulfill the notice 
requirements of this section by addressing the notice to the 
confidential commercial submitter or its legal successor at the address 
indicated on the records, or the last known address. If the notice is 
returned, the component will make a reasonable effort to locate the 
confidential commercial submitter or its legal successor. Where 
notification of a voluminous number of submitters is required, such 
notification may be accomplished by posting and publishing the notice 
in a place reasonably calculated to accomplish notification.


Sec.  70.27   Preservation of records.

    Each component will preserve all correspondence relating to the 
requests it receives under this part, and all records processed 
pursuant to such requests, until disposition or destruction of such 
correspondence and records is authorized by Title 44 of the United 
States Code or the National Archives and Records Administration's 
General Records Schedule 14. Records are not to be destroyed while they 
are the subject of a pending request, appeal, or lawsuit under the Act.


Sec.  70.28-70.37   [Reserved]

Subpart C--Costs for Production of Records


Sec.  70.38   Definitions related to costs.

    The following definitions apply to this subpart:
    (a) Request, in this subpart, includes any request, as defined by 
Sec. 70.2(f), as well as any appeal filed in accordance with Sec. 
70.22.
    (b) Direct costs means those expenditures which a component 
actually incurs in searching for and duplicating (and in the case of 
commercial use requests, reviewing) records to respond to a FOIA 
request. Direct costs include, for example, the salary of the Federal 
employee performing work (the basic rate of pay for the Federal 
employee plus 16 percent of that rate to cover benefits) and the cost 
of operating duplication machinery. Not included in direct costs are 
overhead expenses such as costs of space, heating or lighting the 
facility in which the records are kept.
    (c) Reproduction means the process of making a copy of a record 
necessary to respond to a request. Such copy can take the form of 
paper, microform, audio-visual materials or electronic records (such as 
a CD or other media).
    (d) Search means the process of looking for and retrieving records 
or information that is responsive to a FOIA request. It includes page-
by-page or line-by-line identification of information within records 
and also includes reasonable efforts to locate and retrieve information 
from records maintained in electronic form or format. FOIA components 
will ensure that searches are done in the most efficient and least 
expensive manner reasonably possible. A search does not include the 
review of material, as defined in paragraph (e) of this section, which 
is performed to determine whether material is exempt from disclosure.
    (e) Review means the process of examining records, including audio-
visual, electronic mail, etc., located in response to a request to 
determine whether any portion of the located record is exempt from 
disclosure, and accordingly may be withheld. It also includes the act 
of preparing materials for disclosure, i.e., doing all that is 
necessary to excise them and otherwise prepare them for release. Review 
time includes time spent contacting any submitter, and considering and 
responding to any objections to disclosure made by a submitter under 
Sec. 70.26, but does not include time spent resolving general legal or 
policy issues regarding the application of exemptions.
    (f) Commercial use request means a request from or on behalf of a 
person who seeks information for a use or purpose that furthers his or 
her commercial, trade or profit interests, which can include furthering 
those interests through litigation. When considering fee issues, 
components will determine, whenever reasonably possible, the use to 
which a requester will put the requested records. When it appears that 
the requester will put the records to a commercial use, either because 
of the nature of the request itself or because a component has 
reasonable cause to doubt a requester's stated use, the component will 
provide the requester a reasonable opportunity to submit further 
clarification.
    (g) Educational institution means an institution which:
    (1) Is a preschool, public or private elementary or secondary 
school, an institution of undergraduate higher education, an 
institution of graduate higher education, an institution of 
professional education, or an institution of vocational education, or
    (2) Operates a program or programs of scholarly research. To 
qualify under this definition, the program of scholarly research in 
connection with which the information is sought must be carried out 
under the auspices of the academic institution itself as opposed to the 
individual scholarly pursuits of persons affiliated with an 
institution. For example, a request from a professor for information 
that will assist in writing of a book, independent of his or her 
institutional responsibilities, would not qualify under this 
definition, whereas a request predicated upon research funding granted 
to the institution would meet its requirements. A request from a 
student enrolled in an individual course of study at an educational 
institution would not qualify as a request from the institution.
    (h) Non-commercial scientific institution means an institution that 
is not operated on a commercial basis 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.
    (i) Representative of the news media means 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. Examples of 
news media

[[Page 54777]]

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, as well as news organizations that operate 
solely on the Internet. Alternative media may be considered to be news-
media entities. These examples are not all inclusive.
    (1) Factors indicating status as a news media representative 
include press accreditation, guild membership, a history of continuing 
publication, business registration, and/or Federal Communication 
Commission licensing, among others.
    (2) For purposes of this definition, news contemplates information 
that is about current events or that would be of current interest to 
the public.
    (3) A freelance journalist will be treated as a representative of 
the news media if the person can demonstrate a solid basis for 
expecting publication of matters related to the requested information 
through a qualifying news media entity. A publication contract with a 
qualifying news media entity satisfies this requirement. An 
individual's past publication record with such organizations is also 
relevant in making this determination.


Sec.  70.39   Statutes specifically providing for setting of fees.

    This subpart will not apply to fees charged under any statute, 
other than the FOIA, that specifically requires an agency to set and 
collect fees for particular types of records.


Sec.  70.40   Charges assessed for the production of records.

    (a) General. Components shall charge for processing requests under 
the FOIA in accordance with the provisions of this section and with the 
OMB Guidelines. In order to resolve any fee issues that arise under 
this section, a component may contact a requester for additional 
information. Components will ensure that searches, review, and 
duplication are conducted in the most efficient and least expensive 
manner. A component ordinarily will collect all applicable fees before 
sending copies of records to the requester.
    (b) There are three types of charges assessed in connection with 
the production of records in response to a request, specifically, 
charges for costs associated with:
    (1) Searching for or locating responsive records (search costs),
    (2) Reproducing such records (reproduction costs), and
    (3) Reviewing records to determine whether any materials are exempt 
(review costs).
    (c)(1) There are four types of requesters:
    (i) Commercial use requesters,
    (ii) Educational and non-commercial scientific institutions,
    (iii) Representatives of the news media, and
    (iv) All other requesters.
    (2) Depending upon the type of requester, as set forth in paragraph 
(c)(1) of this section, the charges outlined in paragraph (d) of this 
section may be assessed.
    (d) Types of charges that will be assessed for each type of 
request.
    (1) Commercial use request. When a requester makes a commercial use 
request, search costs, reproduction costs and review costs will be 
assessed in their entirety.
    (2) Educational or non-commercial scientific institution request. 
When an educational or non-commercial scientific institution makes a 
request, only reproduction costs will be assessed, excluding charges 
for the first 100 pages.
    (3) Request by representative of news media. When a representative 
of the news media makes a request, only reproduction costs will be 
assessed, excluding charges for the first 100 pages.
    (4) All other requesters. Requesters making a request which does 
not fall within paragraphs (d)(1), (2), or (3) of this section will be 
charged search costs and reproduction costs, except that the first 100 
pages of reproduction and the first two hours of search time will be 
furnished without charge. Where computer searches are involved, the 
monetary equivalent of two hours of search time by a professional 
employee will be deducted from the total cost of computer processing 
time.
    (e) Charges for each type of activity.
    (1) Search costs.
    (i) When a search for records is performed by a clerical employee, 
a rate of $5.00 per quarter hour will be applicable. When a search is 
performed by professional or supervisory personnel, a rate of $10.00 
per quarter hour will be applicable. Components will charge for time 
spent searching even if they do not locate any responsive records or 
they withhold the records located as exempt from disclosure.
    (ii) For computer searches of records, requesters will be charged 
the direct costs of conducting the search, except as provided in 
paragraph (e)(4) of this section.
    (iii) If the search for requested records requires transportation 
of the searcher to the location of the records or transportation of the 
records to the searcher, all transportation costs in excess of $5.00 
may be added to the search cost.
    (2) Reproduction costs. The standard copying charge for records in 
black and white paper copy is $0.15 per page. This charge includes the 
operator's time to duplicate the record. When responsive information is 
provided in a format other than 8\1/2\ x 11 or 11 x 14 inch black and 
white paper copy, such as computer tapes, disks and color copies, the 
requester may be charged the direct costs of the tape, disk, audio-
visual or whatever medium is used to produce the information, as well 
as the direct cost of reproduction, including operator time. The 
component may request that if a medium is requested other than paper, 
the medium will be provided by the requester.
    (3) Review costs. Costs associated with the review of records, as 
defined in Sec.  70.38(e), will be charged for work performed by a 
clerical employee at a rate of $5.00 per quarter hour when applicable. 
When professional or supervisory personnel perform work, a rate of 
$10.00 per quarter hour will be charged, when applicable. Except as 
noted in this paragraph, charges may only be assessed for review the 
first time the records are analyzed to determine the applicability of 
specific exemptions to the particular record or portion of the record. 
Thus a requester would not be charged for review at the administrative 
appeal level with regard to the applicability of an exemption already 
applied at the initial level. When, however, a record has been withheld 
pursuant to an exemption which is subsequently determined not to apply 
and is reviewed again at the appellate level to determine the potential 
applicability of other exemptions, the costs attendant to such 
additional review will be assessed.
    (4) Limitations on charging fees. If a component fails to comply 
with the time limits in which to respond to a request it shall not 
assess certain fees except:
    (i) If there are unusual circumstances (as that term is defined in 
Sec. 70.25(c)) and the component has provided timely written notice, 
the component is permitted ten additional days to respond to the 
request. After the expiration of the ten additional days, the component 
is no longer permitted to assess search fees or, in the instances of 
requests from requesters described in Sec. 70.38 (h) and (i), 
duplication fees.
    (ii) If there are unusual circumstances (as that term is defined in 
Sec. 70.25(c)), and more than 5,000 pages of

[[Page 54778]]

documents are deemed to be responsive to the request, the component may 
continue to charge assessable fees for as long as it takes to process 
the request, provided that the component has provided timely written 
notice and discussed with the requester via telephone, email, or 
written mail (or made at least three good-faith attempts to do so) how 
the requester could effectively limit the scope of the pending request.
    (iii) If a court has determined that exceptional circumstances 
exist, as defined in the FOIA, 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(6)(C) the agency's 
failure to comply with any time limits of the FOIA are excused for the 
length of time provided by the court order.
    (5) Mailing cost. Where requests for copies are sent by mail, no 
postage charge will be made for transmitting by regular mail a single 
copy of the requested record to the requester, or for mailing 
additional copies where the total postage cost does not exceed $5.00. 
However, where the volume of paper copy or method of transmittal 
requested is such that transmittal charges to the Department are in 
excess of $5.00, the transmittal costs will be added.
    (f) Aggregating requests for purposes of assessing costs.
    (1) Where a component reasonably believes that a requester or a 
group of requesters acting together is attempting to divide a request 
into a series of requests for the purpose of avoiding fees, the 
disclosure officer may aggregate those requests and charge accordingly.
    (2) Components may presume that multiple requests of this type made 
within a 30-day period have been submitted in order to avoid fees. 
Where requests are separated by a longer period, disclosure officers 
will aggregate them only where a solid basis exists for determining 
that aggregation is warranted under all of the circumstances involved. 
Multiple requests involving unrelated matters will not be aggregated.
    (g) Interest charges. Components will assess interest on an unpaid 
bill starting on the 31st day following the 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 date of the billing until payment 
is received by the component. Components 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) Authentication of copies.
    (1) Fees. The FOIA does not require certification or attestation 
under seal of copies of records provided in accordance with its 
provisions. Pursuant to provisions of the general user-charger statute, 
31 U.S.C. 9701 and Subchapter II of title 29 U.S.C., the following 
charges will be made when, upon request, such services are rendered by 
the agency in its discretion:
    (i) For certification of true copies, $10.00 each certification.
    (ii) For attestation under the seal of the Department, $10.00 each 
attestation under seal.
    (2) Authority and form for attestation under seal. Authority is 
hereby given to any officer or officers of the Department of Labor 
designated as authentication officer or officers of the Department to 
sign and issue attestations under the seal of the Department of Labor.
    (i) Transcripts. Fees for transcripts of an agency proceeding, as 
defined in the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 5521(12) will be 
assessed in accordance with the provisions of this subpart.
    (j) Privacy Act requesters. A request from an individual or on 
behalf of an individual for a record maintained by that individual's 
name or other unique identifier which is contained within a component's 
system of records, will be treated under the fee provisions at 29 CFR 
71.6.


Sec.  70.41   Waiver or reduction of fees.

    (a) Requirements for waiver or reduction of fees.
    (1) Records responsive to a request will be furnished without 
charge or at a charge reduced below that established under paragraph 
(e) of Sec. 70.40, where a Component determines, based on all available 
information, that the requester has demonstrated that:
    (i) 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
    (ii) Disclosure of the information is not primarily in the 
commercial interest of the requester.
    (2) To determine whether the requirement of paragraph (a)(1)(i) of 
this section is met, components will consider the following factors:
    (i) The subject of the request: Whether the subject of the 
requested records concerns ``the operations or activities of the 
government.'' The subject of the requested records must concern 
identifiable operations or activities of the federal government, with a 
connection that is direct and clear, not remote or attenuated.
    (ii) The informative value of the information to be disclosed: 
Whether the disclosure is ``likely to contribute'' to an understanding 
of government operations or activities. The disclosable portions of the 
requested records must be meaningfully informative about government 
operations or activities in order to be ``likely to contribute'' to an 
increased public understanding of those operations or activities. The 
disclosure of information that already is in the public domain, in 
either a duplicative or a substantially identical form, would not be as 
likely to contribute to such understanding where nothing new would be 
added to the public's understanding.
    (iii) The contribution to an understanding of the subject by the 
public likely to result from disclosure: Whether disclosure of the 
requested information will contribute to ``public understanding.'' 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 and ability and intention to effectively convey 
information to the public will be considered. It will be presumed that 
a representative of the news media will satisfy this consideration.
    (iv) The significance of the contribution to public understanding: 
Whether the disclosure is likely to contribute ``significantly'' to the 
public understanding of government operations or activities. The 
public's understanding of the subject in question must be enhanced by 
the disclosure to a significant extent.
    (3) To determine whether the requirement of paragraph (a)(1)(ii) of 
this section is met, components will consider the following factors:
    (i) The existence and magnitude of a commercial interest: Whether 
the requester has a commercial interest that would be furthered by the 
requested disclosure. The component will consider any commercial 
interest of the requester (with reference to the definition of 
``commercial use request'' in Sec. 70.38(f)), or of any person on whose 
behalf the requester may be acting, that would be furthered by the 
requested disclosure. Requesters will be given an opportunity in the 
administrative process to provide explanatory information regarding 
this consideration.
    (ii) The primary interest in disclosure: Whether any identified 
commercial interest of the requester is sufficiently large, in 
comparison with the public interest in disclosure, that disclosure is

[[Page 54779]]

``primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.'' A fee waiver 
or reduction is justified where the public interest standard is 
satisfied and that public interest is greater in magnitude than that of 
any identified commercial interest in disclosure. The component 
ordinarily will presume that where a news media requester has satisfied 
the public interest standard, the public interest will be the interest 
primarily served by disclosure to that 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.
    (4) Where only some of the records to be released satisfy the 
requirements for a waiver of fees, a waiver will be granted only for 
those records.
    (5) Requests for the waiver or reduction of fees should address the 
factors listed in paragraph (a) of this section, insofar as they apply 
to each request.
    (b) Submission. Requests for a waiver or reduction of fees should 
be made when the request is first submitted to the component 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 will be required to pay any costs 
incurred up to the date the fee waiver request was received.
    (c) Appeal rights. Requesters dissatisfied with treatment of fee 
waiver or reduction requests may follow the procedures for appeal under 
Sections 70.22 and 70.23.


Sec.  70.42   Consent to Pay Fees.

    (a) The Department will not assess or collect fees where the fee to 
be assessed, after deducting any free pages and/or search time, is less 
than $25.00. When making a request, a requester may specify a 
willingness to pay up to a certain amount, e.g., $50.00 or $200.
    (b) No request will be processed if a component reasonably believes 
that the fees are likely to exceed the amount to which the requester 
has originally consented, absent supplemental written consent by the 
requester to proceed after being notified of this determination.
    (c) When a component determines or estimates that the fees to be 
assessed in accordance with this section will exceed $25.00, the 
component shall 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 component must advise the requester accordingly. 
Such notice may invite the requester to reformulate the request to 
satisfy his or her needs at a lower cost.
    (d) Components must make available their FOIA contact to assist any 
requester in reformulating a request to meet the requester's needs at a 
lower cost.


Sec.  70.43   Payment of fees.

    (a) De minimis costs. As noted in Sec. 70.42(a), the Department has 
determined it will not assess or collect fees below $25.00. In these 
cases, the cost of collecting and processing a fee equals or exceeds 
the amount of the fee which would otherwise be assessed. The Department 
will assess fees where the costs to be assessed, after deduction of any 
free pages and/or search time, is $25.00 or higher.
    (b) How payment will be made. Requesters will pay fees assessed by 
check or money order made payable to the Treasury of the United States, 
and sent to the component that is processing the request.
    (c) Advance payments and billing.
    (1) Prior to beginning to process a request, the component will 
make a preliminary assessment of the amount that can properly be 
charged to the requester for search and review time and copying costs. 
Where a component determines or estimates that a total fee to be 
charged under this section will be more than $250.00, the component 
will require the requester to make an advance payment of an amount up 
to the entire anticipated fee before beginning to process the request. 
The component may waive the advance payment where the component 
receives a satisfactory assurance of full payment from a requester who 
has a history of prompt payment of an amount similar to the one 
anticipated by the request.
    (2) Where a requester has previously failed to pay a properly 
charged FOIA fee to any component of the Department of Labor within 30 
days of the date of billing, a component will require the requester to 
pay the full amount due, plus any applicable interest as provided in 
Sec. 70.40(f) and to make an advance payment of the full amount of any 
anticipated fee, before the component begins to process a new request 
or appeal or continues to process a pending request or appeal from that 
requester.
    (3) For a request other than those described in paragraphs (c)(1) 
and (2) of this section, a component will not require the requester to 
make an advance payment before beginning to process a request. Payment 
owed for work already completed on a request pursuant to consent of the 
requester is not an advance payment and a component may require the 
requester to make a payment for such work prior to releasing any 
records to the requester.
    (d) Time limits to respond extended when advance payments are 
requested. When a component has requested an advance payment of fees in 
accordance with paragraph (c) of this section, the time limits 
prescribed in Sec. 70.25 will only begin to run after the component has 
received the advance payment.


Sec.  70.44   Other rights and services.

    Nothing in this subpart will be construed to entitle any person, as 
of right, to any service or to the disclosure of any records to which 
such person is not entitled under the FOIA.


Sec.  70.45-70.52   [Reserved]

Subpart D--Public Records and Filings


Sec.  70.53  Office of Labor-Management Standards.

    (a) The following documents in the custody of the Office of Labor-
Management Standards are public information available for inspection 
and/or purchase of copies in accordance with paragraphs (b) and (c) of 
this section.
    (1) Data and information contained in any report or other document 
filed pursuant to sections 201, 202, 203, 211, 301 of the Labor-
Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (73 Stat. 524-28, 530, 
79 Stat. 888, 73 Stat. 530, 29 U.S.C. 431-433, 441, 461).
    (2) Data and information contained in any report or other document 
filed pursuant to the reporting requirements of 29 CFR part 458, which 
are the regulations implementing the standards of conduct provisions of 
the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, 5 U.S.C. 7120, and the Foreign 
Service Act of 1980, 22 U.S.C. 4117. The reporting requirements are 
found in 29 CFR 458.3.
    (3) Data and information contained in any report or other document 
filed pursuant to the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995, 2 
U.S.C. 1351, 109 Stat. 19.
    (b) The documents listed in paragraph (a) of this section are 
available from: U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Labor-Management 
Standards, Public Disclosure Room, N-5608, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., 
Washington, DC 20210. Reports filed pursuant to section 201 of the 
Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959

[[Page 54780]]

and pursuant to 29 CFR 458.3 implementing the Civil Service Reform Act 
of 1978 and the Foreign Service Act of 1980 for the year 2000 and 
thereafter are also available at http://www.union-reports.dol.gov.
    (c) Pursuant to 29 U.S.C. 435(c) which provides that the Secretary 
will by regulation provide for the furnishing of copies of the 
documents listed in paragraph (a) of this section, upon payment of a 
charge based upon the cost of the service, these documents are 
available at a cost of $ .15 per page for record copies furnished. 
Authentication of copies is available in accordance with the fee 
schedule established in Sec. 70.40. In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 
552(a)(4)(A)(vi), the provisions for fees, fee waivers and fee 
reductions in subpart C of this part do not supersede these charges for 
these documents.
    (d) Upon request of the Governor of a State for copies of any 
reports or documents filed pursuant to sections 201, 202, 203, or 211 
of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (73 Stat. 
524-528, 79 Stat. 888; 29 U.S.C. 431-433, 441), or for information 
contained therein, which have been filed by any person whose principal 
place of business or headquarters is in such State, the Office of 
Labor-Management Standards will:
    (1) Make available without payment of a charge to the State agency 
designated by law or by such Governor, such requested copies of 
information and data, or
    (2) Require the person who filed such reports and documents to 
furnish such copies or information and data directly to the State 
agency thus designated.


Sec.  70.54  Employee Benefits Security Administration.

    (a) The annual financial reports (Form 5500) and attachments/
schedules as filed by employee benefit plans under the Employee 
Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) are in the custody of the 
Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) at the address 
indicated in paragraph (b) of this section, and the right to inspect 
and copy such reports, as authorized under ERISA, at the fees set forth 
in this part, may be exercised at such office.
    (b) The mailing address for the documents described in this section


is: U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security 
Administration, Public Documents Room, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., 
Washington, DC 20210.

Appendix A to Part 70--FOIA Components

    The following list identifies the individual agency components 
of the Department of Labor for the purposes of the FOIA. Each 
component is responsible for making records in its custody available 
for inspection and copying, in accordance with the provisions of the 
FOIA and this part. Unless otherwise specified, the mailing 
addresses for the following national office components are listed 
below. Updated contact information for national and regional offices 
can be found on the DOL Web site at http://www.dol.gov/dol/foia.

U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, 
DC 20210.
1. Office of the Secretary (OSEC)
2. Office of the Solicitor (SOL)
3. Office of Administrative Law Judges (ALJ), 800 K Street NW., 
Suite N-400, Washington, DC 20001-8002
4. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and 
Management (OASAM),
5. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy (OASP).
6. Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO).
7. Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs (OCIA).
8. Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP).
9. Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).
10. Office of the Inspector General (OIG).
11. Office of Labor Management Standards (OLMS).
12. Office of Public Affairs (OPA).
13. Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP).
14. Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB).
15. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Postal Square Building, Room 
4040, 2 Massachusetts Avenue NE., Washington, DC 20212-0001.
16. Employment and Training Administration (ETA).
Job Corps (part of ETA).
17. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), 201 12th Street, 
South, Arlington, Virginia 22202.
18. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
19. Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA).
20. Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS).
21. Employees' Compensation Appeals Board (ECAB).
22. Administrative Review Board (ARB).
23. Benefits Review Board (BRB).
24. Wage and Hour Division (WHD).
25. Women's Bureau (WB).

    Signed at Washington, DC, on August 1, 2016.
Thomas E. Perez,
Secretary of Labor.

[FR Doc. 2016-18594 Filed 8-16-16; 8:45 am]
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