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The basic function of the Freedom of Information Act is to ensure informed citizens, vital to the functioning of a democratic society. It is often described as the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government. Federal agencies are required to disclose any information requested under the FOIA unless it falls under one of nine exemptions which protect interests such as personal privacy, national security, and law enforcement.

What are the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Privacy Act?

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides that any person has a right to obtain access to federal agency records, except to the extent that such records are protected from public disclosure by one of nine exemptions. The Privacy Act of 1974 mandates how federal agencies maintain records about individuals. The law strives to balance the government's need to maintain these records with the individual's right to be protected from unwarranted invasions of personal privacy.

Visit http://www.foia.gov/ to determine if filing a FOIA request is the best option for you.


FAQs about FOIA and the Privacy Act

Who can file a FOIA or Privacy Act request?

Anyone can file a FOIA request. Any citizen or lawfully-admitted alien can file a Privacy Act request.

How long does it take to get a response under FOIA?

Once an agency receives a FOIA request, the agency has 20 working days to make a decision on the request.

How can you file a FOIA or Privacy Act request with the EPA OIG?

EPA uses a centralized intake process for FOIA and Privacy Act requests. To ensure your request is properly directed to the Office of Inspector General, it is suggested that you specify that your request is seeking EPA OIG records.

  1. FOIAonline

    FOIAonline allows you to electronically submit FOIA requests, modify requests, communicate with the EPA about the status of a request, search previously submitted requests, view responsive documents that are cleared for release, access a dashboard with information about the status of a request, and file an appeal.

    Access FOIAonline at: https://www.foiaonline.gov
  2. U.S. Postal Mail

    FOIA and Privacy Act requests for EPA OIG records can be mailed to:
    National FOIA Office
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW (2310A)
    Washington, DC 20460

    Overnight delivery service should be directed to Room 5315 at the above address.

COVID-19 Update: Please see the EPA notice regarding “hard copy submissions” including FOIA requests at www.epa.gov.




Reading Room - Guide to Reference Materials

FOIA requires that agencies have a "reading room" to inspect publicly available documents. The OIG reports webpage on this site is available to serve this purpose. FOIAonline provides search functionality for EPA OIG FOIA responsive documents that do not contain first-party protected information.

OIG’s FOIA Officer

(202) 566-1512 or OIG_FOIA@epa.gov