(a) After all the criteria in §§ 2.8 and 2.10 have been met, the bureau will make a reasonable effort to search for records responsive to your request. In determining which records are responsive to your request, the bureau will include any records in its possession and control as of the date it begins its search. This will include searching for records in an electronic form/format, except where it would interfere significantly with the bureau's automated information systems.
(b) In response to your request, the bureau will do one of two things:
(1) Include the requested records with the response letter or notify you of how, when, and where the records will be made available; or
(2) Deny part or all of your request, except that the bureau may, consistent with Departmental policy, determine that a discretionary release is appropriate under the particular circumstances. Your request will be denied or partially denied only if one of the nine statutory exemptions listed in appendix E to this part applies to all or part of the records you have requested.
(c) Where a document contains both exempt and nonexempt material, the bureau will generally separate and release the nonexempt information. When disclosing a record in part, the bureau will indicate on the released portion of the record how much information was deleted, unless doing so would harm an interest protected by the exemption used to withhold the information. Further, if technically feasible, the amount of information deleted and the exemption used to withhold the information will be indicated where the deletion is made. If the nonexempt material is so intertwined with the exempt material that disclosure of it would leave only meaningless words and phrases, the entire portion may be withheld.
(d) If a bureau denies your request for records in whole or in part, the bureau's response will include:
(1) A reference to the specific exemption or exemptions authorizing the withholding;
(2) An explanation of the reason(s) for the denial;
(3) An estimate of the volume of information being withheld. The bureau will make a reasonable effort to estimate the volume of any records denied, or portions of records (e.g., 100 pages, 4 Federal Record Center boxes, 1,000 kilobytes, etc.), unless such an estimate would harm an interest protected by the exemption used to withhold the information.
(4) The name(s) and title(s) of the person(s) responsible for the denial;
(5) The name and title of the Office of the Solicitor attorney consulted; and
(6) A statement that the denial may be appealed to the FOIA Appeals Officer (see appendix A to this part), in accordance with the requirements in § 2.29.
(e) If records do not exist within DOI, cannot be located, are not reasonably described, or if a procedural issue remains unresolved (e.g., a fee issue), the bureau will respond to you in writing, including the following information, as applicable:
(1) An explanation of the basis of the decision;
(2) The name(s) and title(s) of the person(s) responsible for the decision; and
(3) A statement that the matter may be appealed within 30 workdays of the date of the response, to the FOIA Appeals Officer under the procedures in § 2.30.
(f) The bureau must consult with the Office of the Solicitor if it is considering withholding a requested record or denying a fee waiver.
(g) If any fees are due, the bureau will notify you in writing of the amount.
(h) All bureau responses will include the name and telephone number of a contact person in case you have questions concerning the response.
(i) Requests for information concerning coal under the Mineral Leasing Act or the Mineral Leasing Act for Acquired Lands are subject to special rules (see appendix F to this part).
[67 FR 64530, Oct. 21, 2002, as amended at 74 FR 17092, Apr. 14, 2009]
Title 43 published on 2011-10-01
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