EPA Corrects FOIA-Related Records Management, OIG Says

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In a follow up audit for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the agency’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found that the EPA has completed all 13 corrective actions from previous audits that were related to improving Federal records management and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) practices.

The recommendations for corrective actions by the OIG for the EPA date back to 2013, and include three different audits:

  • In 2013, the OIG made five recommendations after a congressionally requested inquiry into private email use at the EPA;
  • In May 2014, the OIG made two recommendations related to FOIA procedures for the EPA; and
  • In 2016, the OIG made six recommendations to improve the processes of preserving texts as Federal records.

Despite those improvements in following policies and procedures, EPA officials may have to go back and address some the recommendations again due to statute changes, the OIG said.

The report details that “the FOIA statute changed in 2016 and the EPA updated its FOIA regulations in June 2019. Consequently, the EPA’s FOIA policy and procedure again require management review to determine whether updates are needed.”

The OIG recommended in the report that EPA’s general counsel issue updated FOIA policies and procedures. The EPA agreed with this recommendation and plan to complete that task by Dec. 5.

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