Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
- What is the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)?
- Who can submit a FOIA request?
- Submission of a FOIA request
- FOIA Fees
- Waiving or Reducing Fees
- Reference Links
- Office of Scientific and Techical Information (OSTI) FOIA Officer and FOIA Public Liaison
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 522, provides public access to federal government records from executive branch agencies or entities. Anyone may submit a FOIA request asking for records held by the government. The FOIA carries apresumption of disclosure, which means an agency that receives a FOIA request is required to disclose relevant records unless the records are excluded from disclosure under one of nine specific FOIA exemptions or by one of three special law enforcement record exclusions.
A FOIA request can be made by "any person" that encompasses individuals (including foreign citizens), partnerships, corporations, associations, and foreign or domestic governments; requests may also be made through an attorney or other representative on behalf of "any person."
A FOIA request must be submitted in writing or electronically and must reasonably describe the records sought and are made in accordance with published rules stating the time, place, fees (if any), shall make records promptly available.
Per 10 CFR 1004.9, there are four categories of FOIA requests: Commercial use requesters; educational and non-commercial scientific institution; representatives of the news media; and all other requesters.
Commercial use requesters. When the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) receives a request for documents which appears to be for commercial use, charges will be assessed to recover the full direct costs of searching for, reviewing for release, and duplicating the records sought.
Educational and non-commercial scientific institution requests. The DOE will provide documents to requesters in this category for the cost of reproduction only, excluding charges for the first 100 pages.
Requesters who are representatives of the news media. The DOE will provide documents to requesters in this category for the cost of reproduction only, excluding charges for the first 100 pages.
All other requesters. The DOE will charge requesters who do not fall into any of the above categories fees which recover the full reasonable direct cost of searching for and reproducing records that are responsive to the request, except that the first 100 pages of reproduction and the first two hours of search will be furnished without charge.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will furnish documents without charge or at reduced charges if disclosure of the information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government and disclosure is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.