More Trump officials at the EPA can now weigh in on FOIA requests

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is an important tool that allows Americans to better understand how their government operates. It allows private citizens, the press, and organizations like NRDC to request government documents such as emails and report drafts, which can sometimes become evidence in court cases. But the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency just finalized a rule that could stifle FOIA’s effectiveness. The agency has granted lower levels of political appointees the authority to weigh in on FOIA requests, including whether and how much of a record to release. Matt Topic, a Chicago-based government transparency lawyer, says the change could lead to political appointees overruling a FOIA officer’s decision. The implication is clear: Political appointees often have political motives—and if the Trump administration has taught us anything, Americans need more transparency into the goings-on in government, not less.  

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