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FIA-12-0072 - In the Matter of Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

On December 14, 2012, the Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) issued a decision remanding in part an appeal (Appeal) from a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) determination issued by the Loan Guarantee Program Office (LGPO).  The Appellant appealed the LGPO’s decision to withhold portions of the released documents pursuant to Exemption 4 and contested the adequacy of its search.  The Appellant claimed that Exemption 4 could not apply as the documents were agency records and as the LGPO did not adequately explain why the withheld portions were confidential and entitled to Exemption 4 protection.  OHA determined that while the documents originated from a “person,” and not the DOE, that the LGPO did not adequately justify withholding a substantial portion of the information contained in the two documents.  OHA also determined that the LGPO did not sufficiently explain why it did not produce the other documents that the Appellant claimed should have been provided in response to its FOIA request.  Thus, OHA remanded in part the Appeal to the LGPO.