FIA-17-0048 - In the Matter of the Center for Biological Diversity

You are here

On December 20, 2017, the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) granted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Appeal filed by the Center for Biological Diversity (Appellant) from a determination issued by the Office of Public Information (OPI). The Appellant had filed a FOIA request for records regarding changes to the ENERGY STAR program. In its determination, OPI released four documents that had been located in the Building Technologies Office of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. OPI redacted portions of those documents pursuant to the deliberative process privilege of Exemption 5 of the FOIA, as well as Exemption 6. In its Appeal, the Appellant challenged the adequacy of the search as well as OPI’s Exemption 5 withholdings. On Appeal, OHA found that OPI should take additional steps to ensure it had performed a reasonable search. OHA also found that OPI had properly withheld most of the information under Exemption 5 but that it should review whether any factual, non-deliberative material could be released from two of the documents. Accordingly, OHA granted the Appeal and remanded the matter to OPI.