Council on Environmental Quality November 2009 – Federal Register Recent Federal Regulation Documents

Revision of Freedom of Information Act Regulations
Document Number: E9-27234
Type: Proposed Rule
Date: 2009-11-13
Agency: Council on Environmental Quality, Executive Office of the President
The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) is proposing to amend its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) regulations to reflect its current policy and practice and to implement changes to the FOIA. These proposed regulations reaffirm CEQ's commitment to providing the fullest possible disclosure of records to the public. The proposal provides for an online FOIA Requester Service Center and Reading Room; electronic FOIA requests; access to records published or released under FOIA in electronic format, provided the record is readily reproducible in that form or format; designation of a Chief FOIA Officer and FOIA Public Liaison; referral of requests to appropriate Federal agencies or consultation with another agency, if appropriate; review of requests in order of receipt; multi-tracking of FOIA requests based on the amount of time and work involved in processing requests; revision of CEQ's initial determination period from 10 days to 20 days, beginning on the date CEQ receives a written request; assignment of individualized tracking numbers for certain requests; tolling of the time limit CEQ has to act on a request; expedited processing of FOIA requests upon a showing of compelling need; CEQ consultations with a requester to determine if a FOIA request may be modified to allow for a timely response, or to arrange an alternative timeframe for a response; informing the requester of the volume of requested material withheld and the extent of deletions in records released in response to a FOIA request; reduction in time for appeal from 45 to 30 days of denial of a request; extension of the time limit to respond to a request in ``unusual circumstances''; and aggregation of clearly related requests by a single requester or group of requesters. Further, CEQ's fee structure is revised to include a method for computing fees based upon the classification of the requester and the base pay of the employee making the search, an increase of copying costs from $0.10 to $0.15 per page, and a provision for waiving fees. Additional administrative changes including reorganizing, renumbering, and