EPA may have evaded FOIA request, judge says


The EPA may have tried to evade a Freedom of Information Act request from Landmark Legal Foundation, who filed requests for e-mails of current and former top EPA officials, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Judge Royce Lamberth wrote in an Aug. 14 opinion (.pdf).

There were inconsistencies in the agency's court filings that "undermine the confidence of their truthfulness," Lamberth said.

The EPA sought to exclude the former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson from the FOIA request, Lamberth wrote.

"The record before the Court provides a murky picture of how and when the FOIA request was communicated to the Office of the Administrator," Lamberth wrote.

The EPA requested the FOIA request be throw out, but Lamberth granted Landmark the right to question Jackson and other EPA officials in in person and in writing.

"The possibility that unsearched personal email accounts may have been used for official business raises the possibility that leaders in the EPA may have purposefully attempted to skirt disclosure under the FOIA," Lamberth wrote.

Lamberth wrote in the opinion that the "EPA did not search the personal email accounts of the administrator, the deputy administrator or the chief of staff."

For more:
- download the Aug. 14 opinion (.pdf)

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