"Protect the Freedom of Information Act" sign-on
October 26, 2000
Honorable Thomas Carper Governor of Delaware
Dear Governor Carper:
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and
Environmental Control has proposed to charge for the time needed by it's
staff to respond to requests filed
under the Delaware Freedom of Information Act.
The proposed regulation reads: "...Administrative charges will be billed
to the requestor per quarter hour. These
charges will be billed at the current, hourly
paygrade rate...." Such charges would strike at the very heart of FOIA,
and it's value to individual citizens and community
based organizations. Many of those most in need
of FOIA information may be those least able to pay fees for it.
Another objectionable part of the proposed regulations
limits FOIA access to "Delaware Citizens," defined as "... one who resides/domiciles,
owns property or pays
taxes in Delaware or has a business address in
the State of Delaware; one who has a current Delaware driver's license;
or one who is incorporated within the State of
Delaware." This means, apparently, that a citizen
or community group in, say, Pennsville, New Jersey, or Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania,
could not use the Delaware
FOIA to obtain information about a facility that
might be polluting their community. Businesses and property owners are
accommodated but not ordinary citizens.
This is wrong, and contrary to the intent of
We the undersigned object to these proposed regulations
and ask you to have them withdrawn. DNREC officials have suggested there
is an underlying problem of
insufficient staff to process an increasing number
of FOIA requests. If so, this is a problem that you as Governor have had
the power to address for the last eight
years. You should do so now.
us know what you think.
Muller, Exec. Director
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was last updated on October 28th, 2000.
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