The Department of the Interior's FOIA operations are decentralized between 13 bureaus and offices. From this page, you can link to those bureaus/offices and their on-line FOIA libraries, file a request, track the status of a request, learn about how the FOIA program is structured, and/or review our guidance and resources related to FOIA. The Department and its bureaus/offices post a great deal of information on-line. If you are interested in making a request you may find the information you seek has already been posted. A good place to begin is in the eLibraries.
The DOI's Chief Information Officer (CIO) has been designated as the Chief FOIA Officer pursuant to Executive Order 13392 and the OPEN Government Act of 2007. The Chief FOIA Officer has the following responsibilities:
Three full-time career employees serve as the Department's FOIA policy staff. This staff is located within the Office of the Executive Secretariat and assists the Chief FOIA Officer in fulfilling their responsibilities by:
The Department has decentralized its FOIA operations among 13 bureaus and offices, each of which has a Bureau/Office FOIA Officer leading its separately managed and resourced FOIA Program. Secretarial Order 3244 (November 12, 2002) anchored Bureau/Office FOIA Offices within their respective CIOs' Offices. That order was superseded by Secretarial Order 3309 (December 14, 2010), which replaced Bureau/Office CIOs with Assistant Directors for Information Resources and initiated a series of significant ongoing organizational changes as part of the Department's IT Transformation.
Bureau/office FOIA Officers are responsible for tracking, managing and responding to FOIA requests for records in their organization's possession and control, and administering their organization's FOIA programs. In addition to Bureau/Office FOIA Officers, some bureaus/offices also have Regional FOIA Coordinators and Field Offices that process requests. Some bureaus/offices have their program offices (i.e., the offices whose records are the subject of the requests) prepare the responses to FOIA requests. These responses are reviewed by the FOIA Officer or Regional FOIA Coordinator and the appropriate FOIA attorney (when the decision is to withhold information, make a discretionary release, or deny a fee waiver).
The Office of the Solicitor (SOL) supports the Department's FOIA Program by providing legal interpretations of the FOIA and guidance. The SOL also provides legal reviews of many FOIA initial determinations and appeals, assists in developing DOI's FOIA regulations, and handles FOIA/Privacy Act litigation for the Department. Along with the DOI FOIA policy staff and the FOIA/Privacy Act Appeals Officer, the SOL also assists in training DOI personnel on FOIA implementation.
The Department's FOIA/Privacy Act appeals function is located in and administered by the SOL. The FOIA/Privacy Act Appeals Officer receives, tracks, monitors and issues final determinations on all FOIA/Privacy Act appeals made to the Department.
Each bureau/office has a FOIA Public Liaison who can assist individuals in locating records. FOIA Public Liaisons report to the Department's Chief FOIA Officer and serve as supervisory officials to whom a requester can raise concerns about the service the requester has received. FOIA Public Liaisons are responsible for assisting in reducing delays, increasing transparency and understanding of the status of requests, and assisting in the resolution of disputes.