40 CFR 1601.24 - Timing of responses to requests.
(a) In general. The CSB ordinarily shall respond to requests according to their order of receipt.
(b) Multitrack processing.
(1) The CSB may use two processing tracks by distinguishing between simple and more complex requests based on the amount of work and/or time needed to process the request, including according to limits based on the number of pages involved. If the agency does so, it shall advise requesters assigned to its slower track of the eligibility limits for its faster track.
(2) The agency may provide requesters in its slower track with an opportunity to limit the scope of their requests in order to qualify for faster processing within the specified limits of the agency's faster track. If it does so, the agency will contact the requester either by telephone or by letter, whichever is most efficient in each case.
(c) Unusual circumstances.
(1) Where the time limits for processing a request cannot be met because of unusual circumstances and the CSB determines to extend the time limits on that basis, the agency shall as soon as practicable notify the requester in writing of the unusual circumstances and of the date by which processing of the request can be expected to be completed. Where the extension is for more than ten working days, the CSB shall provide the requester with an opportunity either to modify the request so that it may be processed within the time limits or to arrange an alternative time period for processing the request or a modified request.
(2) Where the CSB reasonably believes that multiple requests submitted by a requester, or by a group of requesters acting in concert, constitute a single request that would otherwise involve unusual circumstances, and the requests involve clearly related matters, they may be aggregated. Multiple requests involving unrelated matters will not be aggregated.
(d) Expedited processing.
(1) Requests and appeals will be taken out of order and given expedited treatment whenever it is determined that they involve:
(i) Circumstances in which the lack of expedited treatment could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual;
(ii) An urgency to inform the public about an actual or alleged Federal government activity, if made by a person primarily engaged in disseminating information;
(iii) The loss of substantial due process rights; or
(iv) A matter of widespread and exceptional media interest in which there exists possible questions about the government's integrity which affect public confidence.
(2) A request for expedited processing may be made at the time of the initial request for records or at any later time.
(3) A requester who seeks expedited processing must submit a statement, certified to be true and correct to the best of that person's knowledge and belief, explaining in detail the basis for requesting expedited processing. For example, a requester within the category in paragraph (d)(1)(ii) of this section, if not a full-time member of the news media, must establish that he or she is a person whose main professional activity or occupation is information dissemination, though it need not be his or her sole occupation. A requester within the category in paragraph (d)(1)(ii) of this section also must establish a particular urgency to inform the public about the government activity involved in the request, beyond the public's right to know about government activity generally. The formality of certification may be waived as a matter of administrative discretion.
(4) Within ten calendar days of its receipt of a request for expedited processing, the CSB shall decide whether to grant it and shall notify the requester of the decision. If a request for expedited treatment is granted, the request shall be given priority and shall be processed as soon as practicable. If a request for expedited processing is denied, any appeal of that decision shall be acted on expeditiously.
(e) Appeals. A written determination on an appeal submitted in accordance with § 1601.23 will be issued within 20 working days after receipt of the appeal. This time limit may be extended in unusual circumstances up to a total of 10 working days after written notice to the requester setting forth the reasons for the extension and the date on which a determination is expected to be made. As used in this paragraph, unusual circumstances means that there is a need to:
(1) Search for and collect the requested records from facilities that are separate from the office processing the request;
(2) Search for, collect, and appropriately examine a voluminous amount of separate and distinct records which are demanded in a single request; or
(3) Consult with another agency having a substantial interest in the determination of the request, or consult with various offices within the CSB that have a substantial interest in the records requested.
(f) When a determination cannot be mailed within the applicable time limit, the appeal will nevertheless be processed. In such case, upon the expiration of the time limit, the requester will be informed of the reason for the delay, of the date on which a determination may be expected to be mailed, and of that person's right to seek judicial review. The requester may be asked to forego judicial review until determination of the appeal.