Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Peek Inside MDEQ's FOIA Process

A recent FOIA inquiry had to do with the state's double standard for the control of silt runoff from urban construction sites, about which a number of posts have appeared on this blog. My emails below were sent on Monday, December 8, with copies to various MDEQ officials and the Governor's office.
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Environmental Assistance Center: 
On November 12, 2014, I made a FOIA request to the MDEQ FOIA Coordinator.  The coordinator's initial response is below, as is my email to her today.  Please assist me in determining what's going on in your department and when I can expect compliance with the Michigan Freedom of Information Act.
 -- Jim Lang 
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Dear Mr. Lang:  
SUBJECT:  Request for Disclosure of Official Files  
This notice is issued in response to your request for information under the Freedom of Information Act, 1976 PA 442, as amended (FOIA), received on November 13, 2014. You have requested information that you describe as “A rationale for the difference between the strict water quality and erosion control enforcement in MEAs and the lax enforcement by OCWRC in its role as CEA, as that rationale relates to Michigan waters and the public trust.”  
Please refer to the following tracking code if you have any questions: FOIA 0832-15.  
Your request will be forwarded to the following divisions: WRD*  
You will be contacted by the division(s) on or before: 11/20/2014  
The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) provides online access to several databases that may contain the information you need.   Please click here for the website. 
[signature omitted] FOIA Coordinator  
Department of Environmental Quality 
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Ms. [coordinator's name omitted]:
To date [12-8-14], I haven't  received any mail of any kind concerning FOIA Request #0832-15 from your Water Resources Division, contrary to your statement on December 3d, "the information was sent from WRD yesterday." 
I believe your false representation and WRD's failure to comply with the your first response and the statute qualify as a denial.  I'll proceed as I think most appropriate.
 -- Jim Lang

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Tomorrow: MDEQ responds

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