43 CFR 2.13 - When may the bureau take a time extension to respond to my request?

§ 2.13 When may the bureau take a time extension to respond to my request?
(a) The bureau may extend the 20-workday time limit for 10 more workdays when it needs to:
(1) Search for and collect the requested records from multiple offices; or
(2) Search for, collect, and examine a voluminous amount of separate and distinct records sought in a single request; or
(3) Consult with another agency having a substantial interest in the determination of the request or with one or more bureaus of the Department having substantial subject-matter interest in the request.
(b) If the bureau intends to take an extension under this subsection, it will notify you in writing and provide the reason for the extension and the date it expects to make a determination on your request.
(c) If an extension is necessary and the bureau is unable to respond to your request within 30 workdays, it will notify you in writing when you may expect a final response and advise you of your appeal rights. If an extension is taken and you have not received a response in 30 workdays, you may consider the request denied and file an appeal under § 2.28(a)(3) or file a lawsuit.
(d) A bureau may not take an extension of time to decide whether to grant a request for a fee waiver.
Beta! The text on the eCFR tab represents the unofficial eCFR text at ecfr.gov.
§ 2.13 How do consultations and referrals work?

(a) Consultations and referrals can occur within the Department or outside the Department.

(1) Paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section addresses consultations and referrals that occur within the Department when the bureau has responsive records.

(2) Paragraphs (d) through (g) of this section address consultations and referrals that occur outside the Department when the bureau has responsive records.

(3) Paragraph (h) of this section addresses what happens when the bureau has no responsive records but believes responsive records may be in the possession of a Federal agency outside the Department.

(b) If a bureau (other than the Office of Inspector General) receives a request for records in its possession that another bureau created or is substantially concerned with, it will either:

(1) Consult with the other bureau before deciding whether to release or withhold the records; or

(2) Refer the request, along with the records, to that other bureau for direct response.

(c) The bureau that originally received the request will notify you of the referral in writing. When the bureau notifies you of the referral, it will tell you whether the referral was for part or all of your request and provide the name and contact information for the other bureau.

(d) If, while responding to a request, the bureau locates records that originated with another Federal agency, it usually will refer the request and any responsive records to that other agency for a release determination and direct response.

(e) If the bureau refers records to another agency, it will document the referral and maintain a copy of the records that it refers and notify you of the referral in writing, unless the notification will itself disclose a sensitive, exempt fact. When the bureau notifies you of the referral, it will tell you whether the referral was for part or all of your request and provide the name and contact information for the other agency. You may treat such a response as a denial of records and file an appeal, in accordance with the procedures in § 2.59 of this part.

(f) If the bureau locates records that originated with another Federal agency while responding to a request, the bureau will make the release determination itself (after consulting with the originating agency) when:

(1) The record is of primary interest to the Department (for example, a record may be of primary interest to the Department if it was developed or prepared according to the Department's regulations or directives, or in response to a Departmental request);

(2) The Department is in a better position than the originating agency to assess whether the record is exempt from disclosure;

(3) The originating agency is not subject to the FOIA; or

(4) It is more efficient or practical depending on the circumstances.

(g) If the bureau receives a request for records that another Federal agency has classified under any applicable executive order concerning record classification, it must refer the request to that agency for response.

(h) If the bureau receives a request for records not in its possession, but that the bureau believes may be in the possession of a Federal agency outside the Department, the bureau will return the request to you, may advise you to submit it directly to the agency, will notify you that the bureau cannot comply with the request, and will close the request. If you believe this response was in error, you may file an appeal in accordance with the procedures in § 2.59.

[77 FR 76902, Dec. 31, 2012; 78 FR 6216, Jan. 30, 2013]

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