43 CFR 2.31 - How will DOI respond to my appeal?

§ 2.31 How will DOI respond to my appeal?
(a) Appeals will be decided by the FOIA Appeals Officer. When necessary, the FOIA Appeals Officer will consult other appropriate offices, including the Office of the Solicitor (in the case of all denials of information and fee waivers, and other technical issues as necessary).
(b) The final decision on an appeal will be in writing and will state the basis for DOI's decision as follows:
(1) Decision to release or withhold records.
(i) If the FOIA Appeals Officer decides to release the withheld records or portions thereof, he/she will make the records available or instruct the appropriate bureau to make them available as soon as possible.
(ii) If the FOIA Appeals Officer decides to uphold in whole or part the denial of a request for records, he/she will advise you of your right to obtain judicial review.
(2) Non-possession of records. If the FOIA Appeals Officer decides that the requested records exist, the bureau that has the records will issue a response to you promptly and the FOIA Appeals Officer will close the file on your appeal. If the FOIA Appeals Officer decides that the requested records cannot be located or do not exist, he/she will advise you of your right to treat the decision as a denial and seek judicial review.
(3) Non-response to a FOIA request. If a bureau has not issued an appropriate response to your FOIA request within the 20-workday statutory time limit, the FOIA Appeals Officer will direct the bureau to issue a response directly to you as soon as possible. If the bureau responds to your request within 20-workdays after receipt of the appeal, the FOIA Appeals Officer will close the file on your appeal. Otherwise, the FOIA Appeals Officer will advise you that you may treat the lack of a response by the bureau as a denial of your appeal and seek judicial review.
(4) Incomplete response to a FOIA request. If a bureau has not issued a complete response to your FOIA request, the FOIA Appeals Officer will direct the bureau to issue a complete response directly to you as soon as possible, and provide you with the name and telephone number of a contact person. The FOIA Appeals Officer will close your FOIA appeal and advise you that you may treat the incomplete response by the bureau as a denial of your appeal and seek judicial review.
(5) Procedural deficiencies. If the FOIA Appeals Officer decides that the bureau was in error, he/she will instruct the bureau to correct the error and advise you accordingly. If the FOIA Appeals Officer decides that the bureau acted properly, he/she will deny your appeal and advise you of your right to seek judicial review.
(6) Fee waiver denials. If the decision is to grant your request for a fee waiver, the FOIA Appeals Officer will advise the appropriate bureau of the Department's decision and instruct the bureau to proceed with processing the request or to refund any monies you have paid. If the decision is to deny the fee waiver request, the Department will advise you of your right to seek judicial review. You also should contact the bureau office to make further arrangements to process your request if you still wish to obtain the records.
(7) Denial of expedited processing. If the FOIA Appeals Officer decides to grant expedited processing, he/she will direct the bureau to process your request as soon as practicable. If your request for expedited processing is denied on appeal, the FOIA Appeals Officer will advise you of your right to seek judicial review of the denial of expedited processing.
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§ 2.31 What must a submitter include in a detailed Exemption 4 objection statement?

(a) To rely on Exemption 4 as basis for nondisclosure, the submitter must explain why the information is confidential information. To do this, the submitter must give the bureau a detailed written statement. This statement must include a specific and detailed discussion of why the information is a trade secret or, if the information is not a trade secret, the following three categories must be addressed (unless the bureau informs the submitter that a response to one of the first two categories will not be necessary):

(1) Whether the submitter provided the information voluntarily and, if so, how disclosure will impair the Government's ability to obtain similar information in the future and/or how the information fits into a category of information that the submitter does not customarily release to the public;

(2) Whether the Government required the information to be submitted, and if so, how disclosure will impair the Government's ability to obtain similar information in the future and/or how substantial competitive or other business harm would likely result from disclosure; and

(3) A certification that the information is confidential, has not been disclosed to the public by the submitter, and is not routinely available to the public from other sources.

(b) If not already provided, the submitter must include a daytime telephone number, an email and mailing address, and a fax number (if available).

[77 FR 76902, Dec. 31, 2012, as amended at 81 FR 11129, Mar. 3, 2016]

This is a list of United States Code sections, Statutes at Large, Public Laws, and Presidential Documents, which provide rulemaking authority for this CFR Part.

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