That’s according to an analysis of a year’s worth of FOIA requests by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a nonprofit Washington, D.C.-based public policy group that advocates limited government, free enterprise and individual liberty. The waivers are significant since FOIA fees can run into the thousands of dollars – enough money to discourage groups from going forward with their requests for emails and other government documents. Federal agencies usually waive fees on FOIA requests by the media or public-interest groups.
CEI found that the EPA waived fees on 75 out of 82 FOIA requests made by environmental groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council and Greenpeace. But it denied fee waivers on 14 of CEI’s 15 FOIA requests. Other conservative groups also were often denied fee waivers, according to CEI.
“EPA’s practice is to take care of their friends and impose ridiculous obstacles to deny problematic parties’ request for information,” said Christopher Horner, a senior fellow at CEI.