Ohio Open Records Act

Where’s the ‘Free’ in the Freedom of Information Act? FOIA Requests, Fee Waivers, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Where’s the ‘Free’ in the Freedom of Information Act? FOIA Requests, Fee Waivers, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

FOIA is intended to “ensure an informed citizenry, vital to the functioning of a democratic society, needed to check against corruption and to hold the governors accountable to the governed.”[1] Indeed, information held by government agencies often helps individuals and communities understand the very environment that surrounds them.  However, federal agencies can request high fees for this information, often making these documents out of reach for many requesters.  This can create an access-to-justice issue: yes, the information is available, but only to those who can afford it.

There are ways in which these fees can be appealed—but first, a short primer on FOIA requests.