Freedom of Information Act & Privacy Act Programs.
The Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act Division/Office is responsible
for administering policies, programs, and procedures to ensure DOE compliance
with the Freedom of Information Act (FOlA) and the Privacy Act (PA), 5 U.S.C.
552 and 5 U.S.C. 552a, respectively.
The resources on these pages are provided to aid in finding
answers to questions about programs of the Department of Energy and to obtain
information that is publicly available without submitting a FOlA request. If the
information is not available here, submit a Freedom of Information Act request
What is the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
The FOIA, Title 5, United States Code, Section 552, was signed into law on July
4, 1966, by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Since then, the FOIA has been amended
in 1974, 1986, and most recently, with the enactment of the Electronic Freedom
of Information Act Amendments of 1996 (E-FOIA). The E-FOIA and requires federal
agencies to make records available both electronically and through public
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) implements the FOIA
regulation at Title 10, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 1004 (10 CFR 1004).
The FOIA establishes the premise that any person has a right of access to
federal agency records, and that federal agency records must be made available
to the public unless they are specifically exempt from public release.
The FOIA applies to records created and maintained by agencies in the executive
branch of the federal government.
The FOIA does not apply to Congress, the judicial branch
of the federal government, or to state or local governments. Many state
governments have enacted open records laws. The attorney general of a state
could provide information about that state�s laws upon request.
The FOIA and E-FOIA require that certain agency records, such as description of
agency organization and office addresses, statements of agency operations, rules
of procedures, general policy statements, final opinions made in the
adjudication of cases, and administrative staff manuals that affect the public,
be made available for inspection and copying regardless of the format. These
records and many other agency records, in the spirit of openness, are also made
available to the public in the public reading facilities, including at DOE
Headquarters in Washington, DC.
Although the FOIA is primarily a disclosure law, not all records requested under
FOIA are automatically released. The FOIA has nine exemptions that allow certain
information contained in records or the entire records to be withheld from
public inspection. The exemptions apply to records that are:
� properly classified in the interest of national defense or foreign policy
� related solely to internal rules and practices
� specifically mandated to be withheld from public release by statutes
� trade secrets and commercial or financial information which is obtained from a
person and is privileged or confidential
� inter-agency or intra-agency memoranda or letters, attorney-client privilege
information, or attorney work product
� personnel and medical files and similar files, the disclosure of which would
constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy
� investigatory records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes,
the release of which
(A) could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement
(B) would deprive a person of a right to a fair trail or impartial
(C) could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of
(D) could reasonably be expected to disclose the identity of a
(E) would disclose investigative techniques, and /or
(F) could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety
of any individual
� information contained in or related to certain examination, operating, or
condition reports concerning financial institutions
� certain information concerning gas or oil wells
Reasonably segregable nonexempt information will be released unless it is
inextricably intertwined with exempt material. Agencies are encouraged to make
discretionary releases of information in cases in which no foreseeable harm from
the release of the information can be determined.
The FOIA mandates a response within 20-days of receipt of a request (excluding
weekends and federal holidays). The DOE strives to meet this processing time
frame; however, due to voluminous requests, and legal reviews, some requests may
take a longer period of time to complete. If it is determined additional is
needed time to complete your request, you will be notified as appropriate.
All requests made pursuant to the FOIA become a matter of public record, with
personal Information about requesters deleted. Requests for classified records,
including requests for mandatory review pursuant to Executive Order 12598, will
automatically be considered a FOIA request.
The DOE Director of the Office of Classification in Washington, D.C., is
responsible for the release determination of any classified records that are
identified as responsive to FOIA requests.
The adequacy of search for records, the partial or full denial of records, and
fees assessed may be appealed. Such appeals must be made in writing, within
30-days of receipt of the denial letter, to the following address;
Director, Office of Hearings and Appeals, HG-1, U.S. Department of Energy,
1000 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20585.
Judicial review will thereafter be available within the district in which the
requester resides or has their principal place of business, in which the
Department�s records are situated, or in the District of Columbia.