The EPA digs itself into a deeper hole.
Last Wednesday we broke the news that EPA had ‘Stalinized’ (i.e., deleted from for political reasons) its Grant Awards Database of at least $468,000 in grants that went to Peter Gleick’s Pacific Institute.
Caught red-handed, the agency had undeleted Gleick’s grants by last Friday evening.
Why the agency tried to delete grants made to Gleick is anybody’s guess.
But last Thursday (Feb. 23), JunkScience.com submitted an online Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to EPA asking for two items:
- All EPA records that mention “Peter Gleick” or the “Pacific Institute”; and
- Disclosure of the identities of those involved in the deletion from the EPA Grants Database of EPA grants to the Pacific Institute that occurred on or about February 22-23, 2012.
Request #1 is not visible in a PDF of the FOIA request as the entire request description box was not captured by the Adobe software. But this is of no matter as Request #2 was fully (and fortuitously) captured.
The next day (Feb. 24), we received an acknowledgement of the FOIA request from the EPA:
RE: Request No: HQ-FOI-00817-12
Dear Mr. Milloy,
This is to acknowledge receipt of your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552, request dated February 23, 2012 and received in this office on February 23, 2012, for records related to:
Requesting all records that mention “Peter Gleick” or the “Pacific Institute”.
Your request has been forwarded to OARM for processing. If you have any questions, please contact the Requester Service Center at 202-566-1667 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please provide your FOIA request number in all communications. You can obtain the status of your initial FOIA request on-line at http://www.epa.gov/foia/foia_request_status.html
Larry F. Gottesman
National FOIA Officer
But notice that the EPA acknowledgment letter pretends that we didn’t ask for information relating to our Request #2:
Disclosure of the identities of those involved in the deletion from the EPA Grants Database of EPA grants to the Pacific Institute that occurred on or about February 22-23, 2012.
While it’s possible that the omission/deletion of Request #2 from the acknowledgement letter was inadvertent, given the context of EPA’s attempt to de-Gleick-ify its Grant Awards Database, it’s also possible (if not likely) that omission/deletion was intentional.
Even if the EPA was going to refuse to provide the information asked for in Request #2, it could/should have come back with a rationale, however dodgy, for the refusal. Instead, the agency seems to want to pretend that Request #2 wasn’t made.
We will pursue.