BLM has new regulations surrounding requests people or organizations send in for public information.
22 Jan 2020
Today we received 3 responses to recent requests we sent in for public records. For those of you who are new to all of the acronyms, we often call this a FOIA when we’re requesting records from the federal government. That is because the laws governing these requests are in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) under the Freedom of Information Act (hence FOIA).
One request response came back as we have always seen them giving us a number that identifies our request and an expected date they will provide those records by, even though we submitted the request to them 1 day after the new regs went into place.
The second response was informing us that FOIA laws changed as of December 16, 2020. Well…since we’re a few months away from that date we went to Google to find out if there had been a change in the regulations and there has been! The regs were updated on January 16, 2020….ah, now we get what their error was, but since we aren’t trying to make things hard for them we’ll let that one go. And darn it we submitted this request…hmmm…also 1 day after the new regs went into effect…
For those of you who file FOIA requests the new regs. which require you to file from the dot gov website, or by “physical” facsimile. Does that mean we cannot use a fax service online? Hmmm…we still have more research to do on that one. (The new regs are posted on the bottom of this article with a link if you need to read on past the submission portion)
We just resubmitted our second request on the new .gov website. We also responded to the original 4 people that bounced our FOIA request around at BLM for 5 days before telling us we have to send it somewhere else, letting them know our expectance that they will expedite our request when the new central database bounces the request back to the appropriate person at their office for compilation of the documents we requested nearly a week ago.
Now here’s a kicker. Apparently, there is a hiccup in setting up the new email system because a third response we got today was a response attempting to explain the overdue request sent to them long before these regulations went into effect. They stated in the letter that they are installing a new email system, so they have had limited access to email, and are not receiving attachments, etc.
Things that make us wonder are that the 2 FOIA requests we’re having negative kinds of responses from are both to the same office. And no surprise to us, it’s a BLM office in Congressman Mark Amodei’s district in Nevada. The office that was responsive was in Oregon.
We’re not surprised because for several years Amodei has not only ignored illegal activities of BLM in his district, especially when it comes to anything that is not related to the profit-making industries that line his campaign pockets. And he’s gone as far as to earn himself a spot in a CAES filed an ethics complaint for testifying false information to Congress regarding wild horses.
But additionally and more recently he ignored the pleas of people across his district, across the nation and from across the globe asking him to help us release wild horses that were illegally gathered and subsequently brutalized by BLM in his district.
But, hey he’s gotten away with it if people don’t vote him out in 2020 right? If he stays things like this will only get worse.
NEW FOIA REGS.
§2.3 Where should you send a FOIA request?
(a) The Department does not have a central location for submitting FOIA requests and it does not maintain a central index or database of records in its possession. Instead, the Department’s records are decentralized and maintained by various bureaus and offices throughout the country.
(b) To make a request for Department records, you must write directly to the bureau that you believe maintains those records by utilizing the written forms of submission listed on the Department’s FOIA website, https://www.doi.gov/foia, or utilizing physical or facsimile addresses of an appropriate FOIA contact, located at http://www.doi.gov/foia/contacts.