Texas Among States Alleging EPA Noncompliance with Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Regarding Records of Negotiation/Settlement with Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs)
On July 16, 2013, the Texas Attorney General, along with eleven other states, filed a complaintagainst the United States Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") to compel compliance with the Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA"). See Pruitt v. EPA, Docket No. 5:13-cv-0726 (W.D. Okla. 2013). Earlier this year, the States had filed FOIA requests relating to EPA’s negotiations with nongovernmental organizations ("NGOs") under the Clean Air Act Regional Haze program, given concerns that EPA’s policy of settling lawsuits via consent decree was effectively excluding the States from the intended cooperative implementation process. In May 2013, EPA denied the FOIA request as overly broad. The States now seek an order requiring EPA to process the States’ FOIA request, conduct a thorough search for responsive records, disclose the requested records, and waive the processing fee. Additional information on this action can be found on the Oklahoma Office of the Attorney General's website.