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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Wildearth Guardians alleges Office of Surface Mining Reclamation failed to produce documents requested under FOIA

Lawsuits

By Carrie Bradon | Apr 25, 2019


DENVER (Legal Newsline) – A nonprofit conservation organization alleges two federal agencies have failed to produce documents requested via the Freedom of Information Act.

Wildearth Guardians filed a complaint on April 11 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado against the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and the U.S. Department of the Interior citing the Freedom of Information Act.

The plaintiff alleges it submitted a FOIA request to the defendants on Nov. 30, 2017, regarding a rulemaking petition that OSMRE approved in 2016 over self-bounding of coal companies that are no longer financially solvent. The plaintiff alleges the defendants received the request but did not provide any response. 

The plaintiff alleges it contacted OSMRE on Jan. 3, 2018, to ask for an acknowledgment of the request and it responded on Jan. 5, 2018, confirming that it received the request in November but did not provide a determination to the plaintiff's request. 

The suit states plaintiff then sent a follow-up email to OSMRE on Sept. 7, 2018, and on Sept. 20, 2018, OSMRE confirmed that it was still working on the response and estimated the determination would be available on Oct. 31, 2018.

The plaintiff alleges OSMRE has still not produced the requested records in violation of the FOIA.

The plaintiff is seeking a declaration that the defendants violated the FOIA. The plaintiff is represented by Stuart Wilcox of Stuart Wilcox LLC in Aurora, Colorado, and by Travis E. Stills of Energy & Conservation Law in Durango, Colorado.

U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado case number 1:19-CV-01073

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U.S. Department of Interior U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado

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