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“Interior: FOIA Backlog Confronts Biden’s New Team”

“The Biden administration's Interior Department leaders face a Freedom of Information Act request backlog that has tripled over the last four years, underscoring the serious public records management challenges ahead.

The department's latest quarterly report issued last Friday showed an overall FOIA backlog of 4,265 requests for the period between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, 2020.

For the comparable three-month period in late 2016, at the end of the Obama administration, Interior's FOIA backlog stood at 1,364.

Trump administration officials, in their 2020 annual report, wrote that there were “sustained increases in the volume and complexity” of incoming requests. From fiscal 2016 to 2019, FOIA requests to Interior jumped nearly 24% to over 7,970.”

Michael Doyle reports for E&E News February 1, 2021.