FIA-17-0053 - In the Matter of the Center for Biological Diversity

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On January 5, 2018, the Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) granted in part a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Appeal filed by the Center for Biological Diversity (Appellant) from a final determination issued by the Department of Energy’s Western Area Power Administration (WAPA). On Appeal, the Appellant alleged that WAPA had not conducted an adequate search for responsive records and had not issued an adequate determination letter. The Appellant additionally challenged WAPA’s use of FOIA Exemptions 3, 4, and 5 to redact the released documents. After review, OHA determined that WAPA conducted a search reasonably calculated to uncover the records sought by the Appellant and issued an adequate determination letter. OHA further determined that WAPA properly withheld information pursuant to the attorney-client privilege of Exemption 5. Per WAPA’s request, however, OHA remanded the remaining redactions for additional review and analysis. Accordingly, OHA granted the Appeal in part. OHA Case No. FIA-17-0053