18 CFR 3a.22 - Declassification and downgrading.
(a) When classified information of material no longer requires the level of protection assigned to it, it shall be downgraded or declassified in order to preserve the effectiveness and integrity of the classification system. The Chairman, Vice Chairman, and Executive Director exercise downgrading and declassification authority in the FERC.
(b) Information and material classified prior to June 1, 1972, and assigned to Group 4 under E.O. 10501, as amended by E.O. 10964, unless declassified earlier by the original classifying authority, shall be declassified and downgraded in accordance with the following General Declassification Schedule.
(1) Top Secret. Information or material originally classified TOP SECRET becomes automatically downgraded to Secret at the end of the second full calendar year following the year in which it was originated, downgraded to Confidential at the end of the fourth full calendar year following the year in which it was originated, and declassified at the end of the 10th full calendar year following the year in which it was originated.
(2) Secret. Information and material originally classified Secret becomes automatically downgraded to Confidential at the end of the second full calendar year following the year in which it was originated, and declassified at the end of the eighth full calendar year following the year in which it was originated.
(3) Confidential. Information and material originally classified Confidential becomes automatically declassified at the end of the sixth full calendar year following the year in which it was originated.
(c) To the fullest extent applicable, there shall be indicated on each such FERC originated classified document whether it can be downgraded or declassified at a date earlier than under the above schedule, or after a specified event, or upon the removal of classified attachments or enclosures. Classified information in the possession of the Federal Power Commission, but not bearing a marking for automatic downgrading or declassification, will be marked or designated by the Chairman or the Security Officer designated by § 3a.51 hereof for automatic downgrading or declassification in accordance with the rules and regulations of the department or agency which originally classified the information or material.
(d) When the FERC official having classification authority downgrades or cancels the classification of a document before its classification status changes automatically, each addressee to whom the document was transmitted shall be notified of the change unless the addressee has previously advised that the document was destroyed. Addressees must be notified similarly when it has been determined that a document must be upgraded.
(e) When classified information from more than one source is incorporated into a new document or other material, the document or other material shall be classified, downgraded, or declassified in accordance with the provisions of E.O. 11652 and NSC directives thereunder applicable to the information requiring the greatest protection.
(f) All information or material classified prior to June 1, 1972, other than that described in paragraph (b) of this section, is excluded from the General Classification Schedule. However, at any time after the expiration of 10 years from the date of origin it shall be subject to classification review and disposition by FERC provided:
(1) A department or agency or member of the public requests review;
(2) The request describes the record with sufficient particularity to enable FERC to identify it; and
(3) The record can be obtained with a reasonable amount of effort.
(g) All classified information or material which is 30 years old or more will be declassified under the following conditions:
(1) All information and material classified after June 1, 1972, will, whether or not declassification has been requested, become automatically declassified at the end of 30 full calendar years after the date of its original classification except for such specifically identified information or material which the Chairman personally determines in writing to require continued protection because such continued protection is essential to the national security, or disclosure would place a person in immediate jeopardy. In such case, the Chairman also will specify the period of continued classification.
(2) All information and material classified before June 1, 1972 and more than 30 years old will be systematically reviewed for declassification by the Archivist of the United States by the end of the 30th full calendar year following the year in which it was originated. In his review, the Archivist will separate and keep protected only such information or material as is specifically identified by the Chairman in accordance with paragraph (g) (1) of this section. In such case, the Chairman also will specify the period of continued classification.
(3) The Executive Director, acting for the Chairman, is assigned to assist the Archivist of the United States in the exercise of his responsibilities indicated in paragraph (g)(2) of this section. He will:
(i) Provide guidance and assistance to archival employees in identifying and separating those materials originated in FERC which are deemed to require continued classification; and
(ii) Develop a list for submission to the Chairman which identifies the materials so separated, with recommendations concerning continued classification. The Chairman will then make the determination required under paragraphs (g) (1) and (2) of this section and cause a list to be created which identifies the documents included in the determination, indicates the reason for continued classification, and specifies the date on which such material shall be declassified.