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Southern Environmental Law Center
Telephone 919-967-1450 601 WEST ROSEMARY STREET, SUITE 220
CHAPEL HILL, NC 27516-2356
September 5, 2018
VIA E-MAIL AND U.S. MAIL
Freedom of Information Officer
Council on Environmental Quality
730 Jackson Place, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20503
Re: Freedom of Information Act Request: Proposed NEPA Rulemaking
Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), 5 U.S.C. § 552, and 40 C.F.R. §
1515 et seq ., the Southern Environmental Faw Center (“SEFC”) respectfully requests all records
in the possession of the Council on Environmental Quality (“CEQ”) that in any way relate to
CEQ’s proposed rulemaking to update CEQ’s implementing regulations for the procedural
provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”), including but not limited to all
records that in any way relate to CEQ’s Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“ANPRM”)
titled “Update to the Regulations for Implementing the Procedural Provisions of the National
Environmental Policy Act,” published in the Federal Register on June 20, 2018. 83 Fed. Reg.
For the purposes of this request, the term “records” includes all written, printed, recorded,
or electronic materials, communications, correspondence, memoranda, notations, copies,
diagrams, charts, books, papers, maps, photographs, data, tables, spreadsheets, formulas,
directives, observations, impressions, contracts, letters, messages, and mail in the possession,
custody, or control of CEQ. Please provide any electronic records in native file format. Please
also include all responsive records generated up to the date this request is filled.
The disclosure of the requested materials would be in the public interest because (1) it is
likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of CEQ’s activities in relation to its
review and revision of its NEPA regulations, which could have profound impacts on the
environmental review process for federal actions, and (2) is not in the commercial interest of
SEEC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that works to protect the natural resources of
the Southeast. For more than three decades, SEEC has relied on the procedures set forth in
NEPA to help protect communities from poorly planned projects that can harm health, waste
taxpayer money, and impact important natural resources in the Southeast. Now SEEC is actively
engaging with more than 50 groups around the Southeast to respond to this proposed rulemaking.
Charlottesville • Chapel Hill • Atlanta • Asheville • Birmingham • Charleston • Nashville • Richmond • Washington, DC
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In response to the ANPRM, SELC engaged the public and encouraged citizens to submit
comments. SELC also submitted its own comments on behalf of more than 50 groups across the
Southeast. More information about SELC’s efforts is available on our website, at
speak-up . The requested information will aid the public’s ability to respond to changes CEQ
proposes to make to its NEPA regulations.
We request that you waive any search and duplication fees and provide the requested
records without charge, or at a reduced charge, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(A)(iii). The
disclosure of the requested materials would be in the public interest because it is likely to
contribute significantly to public understanding of CEQ’s activities and is not in the commercial
interest of SELC or our clients. Courts have recognized that Congress intended EOIA’s fee
waiver to be “liberally constmed in favor of waivers for noncommercial requesters.” McClellan
Ecological Seepage Situation v. Carlucci, 835 E.2d 1282, 1284 (9th Cir. 1987).
Should our request for reduced or waived fees be denied, we are prepared to bear the
reasonable costs necessary to fulfill this request, although we request that you contact us before
processing this request to discuss fees. We reserve our right to appeal a denial of our request for
a fee waiver or reduction.
EOIA directs a responding agency to make a “determination” on any request within
twenty working days of receipt. 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(A). Should our request be denied, we ask
that you inform us of the grounds for denial and the specific administrative appeal rights that are
available. Please contact me at (919) 967-1450 or email@example.com to arrange for inspection,
copying, and electronic transmission of the requested documents.
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