The FOIA offices in the bureaus/offices of the Department of the Interior are continuing to process FOIA requests to the best of their ability during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To keep employees healthy and safe, the Department is maximizing telework flexibility and employing social distancing protocols. As a result of these precautions, most employees are working remotely and unable to collect hard copy records located in government facilities at this time. If your request is for hard copy records, the response to your request will very likely be delayed.
In addition, employees may not receive FOIA requests that are sent by U.S. mail, overnight mail services, or facsimile in a timely manner. We recommend, therefore, that requesters submit requests through FOIAonline, a secure, web-based tracking and case-management system, at https://www.foiaonline.gov, unless the requests are for the Office of Inspector General's records.
You may file requests with the Office of Inspector General at https://www.doioig.gov/complaints/FOIA/how-to-submit-a-foia-request or through the government-wide portal at https://www.foia.gov.
The Department's bureaus and offices are authorized to charge fees to requesters in order to recover the direct costs of search, review and duplication of requested records. If the total costs of supplying the requested information is less than $50, the Department will waive any applicable fees. If the total costs will exceed $250, you may be required to pay before the Department begins its search. Fee and fee waiver issues can be complicated. If you have additional questions, please see our regulations.
Bureaus/offices will charge for processing requests under the FOIA in accordance with the Department's FOIA regulations and the Office of Management and Budget's Guidelines. Bureaus/offices ordinarily will collect all applicable fees before sending copies of records to you and can charge search and review costs even if no records are found or the record reviewed is ultimately not disclosed.
$ .15 per page for standard-size paper.
If you are seeking a fee waiver, it is your responsibility to provide detailed information to support your request. You must submit this information with your FOIA request. Each fee waiver request is judged on its own merit. The Department does not grant "blanket" fee waivers. The fact that you have received a fee waiver in the past does not mean you are automatically entitled to a fee waiver for other requests you submit, because an essential element of any fee waiver determination is whether the release of the particular documents sought will likely contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the Government.
An essential element of any fee waiver determination is whether the release of the particular records sought will likely contribute significantly to public understanding of the operation or activities of the Government. The bureau will release records responsive to a request without charge or at a reduced rate if the bureau determines, based on all available information, that you have demonstrated that disclosing the information is:
In deciding whether you have met the criteria above, the Department will consider the following factors: