Documents Government

Trashing the EPA

I’m angry about the Republican intransigence regarding a vote for Gina McCarthy.

The Republican senators state that there’s a ‘lack of transparency’ to the actions of the EPA. They use the same old tired excuse that the previous head, Lisa Jackson, used an email alias. They ignore the fact that Jackson’s formal email address gets over a million emails a year, and is thus entirely useless when it comes to necessary communication. They also ignore the assurances, given again and again, that Jackson’s alias address is used when fulfilling Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

As for those FOIA mandates, no agency is perfect, but the EPA is most decidedly trying.


Untangling the Web – A NSA FOIA Request

The NSA has recently declassified its internet research how-to manual, Untangling the Web: An Introduction to Internet Research (PDF), and evidently someone grabbed it via a FOIA request.

It’s 600 pages, folks. It is going to be a slow download. It’s also based on 2007 technology, which is something like 1 1/2 internet generations ago. Still, it is an interesting look at how that never-talked-about agency, the NSA, works.

(h/t Frank Paynter)

Environment Government Legal, Laws, and Regs

Sackett vs EPA

I received a CD with Administrative Record documents I requested via FOIA from the EPA. These documents were submitted by the EPA based on a request from the Sacketts in the Sackett et al vs. Johnson et al court case, otherwise known as the Sackett vs. the EPA. This case received a very narrow decision in the Supreme Court last year. I’ve retrieved most of the PACER court documents and am planning on posting these this week.

Thankfully, the Administrative Record documents came with a spreadsheet index, which I converted to a basic HTML table (Sacketts vs. the EPA Administrative Record Documents). Much simpler to post online when you don’t have to individually link the large titled PDFs.

An interesting thing about the Administrative Record documents is the photos. I’m not a geologist, but I found the photos of the Sacketts’ lot to be rather convincing that yes, they were filling in a wetlands. In addition, the Sacketts’ neighbors were the ones to file a complaint because, evidently, the work the Sacketts were doing was causing water to back up into the neighbor’s place.

The Sacketts claimed ignorance of the need to see if they required a Clear Water Act permit before filling in their property. I find this less than credible when you consider that the Sacketts run an excavation and construction business. In addition, there’s also the fact that the previous owners were aware the land was designated a wetlands.

Interesting what you can find with a simple FOIA request. Which, by the way, the EPA responded to quickly and efficiently.

I’ll have more on this case at a different web site (since this one is about document access) when I have all the pieces (and I have the extra time). In the mean time, feel free to explore the Admin Record documents, and the court documents later in the week. You can definitely find out more about the case just by searching on “Sackett vs EPA” online.