Freedom of Information Act
Regional FOIA Information
- FOIA homepage
- How do I submit a FOIA request?
- What do I need to include in my request?
- How soon will I get a response?
- What will it cost?
Questions? Contact the Region 5 FOIA hotline at 312-353-8559.
See the status of your FOIA request (PDF) (size varies)
National FOIA Information
Under the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552 (PDF, 18pp, 79K About PDF), the public may receive copies of records in the possession of the agencies of the U.S. Government, including EPA. In general, documents must be released to a person requesting the document, unless the document falls into one of the release exemptions set forth in FOIA.
The federal FOIA does not provide access to records held by state or local government agencies, or by businesses or individuals. States have their own statutes governing public access to state and local records and they should be consulted for further information about them.
FOIA requests for EPA records
- EPA is required to respond to requests for records only.
- You can submit a FOIA request to Region 5 or to the national FOIA Office at EPA Headquarters or to any one of the Regional FOIA Officers. You can use the same online form for any FOIA request.
- For the quickest response, submit your request directly to the Regional office you believe has the records you are seeking. If you do not know where the records exist, submit your request to the national FOIA office.
- For site-specific information, please check My PropertyInfo before filing your FOIA request. This tool allows real estate agents, mortgage banks, engineering and consulting firms, and the public to determine if EPA databases have records on a specific property without filing a formal FOIA request. The results of this search will be identical to the information you would receive by filing a FOIA request with EPA for these records.
- Visit the EPA Electronic Reading Room for information that is available on our website without the need for a FOIA request.
How do I submit a FOIA request?
You have several ways to submit your FOIA request for records in the possession of EPA's Region 5 office. EPA Region 5's holdings contain only environment-related information regarding the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. If your request does not meet these criteria, but you do not know where to obtain the information you desire, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our best to assist you.
- Online Form
- Email: email@example.com
- Postal mail:
Freedom of Information Officer
U.S. EPA Region 5 (MI-9J)
77 West Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60604-3590
Questions? Call the Freedom of Information hotline at 312-353-8559.
What do I need to include in my request?
- the full and complete name(s) of the facility(ies) you are inquiring about
- the complete address(es)
- a specific statement regarding which documents you wish to receive
- the program or programs from which you desire to request records (many facilities are regulated under more than one Federal environmental law)
- If you need database lists for a ZIP code area, include the state and the needed databases.
- Indicate whether you would like these lists as a printout or as an electronic file
How soon will I get a response?
Federal agencies are required to respond to a FOIA request within twenty working days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays. The twenty-day period does not begin until the request is received by the Agency and identify the records you are seeking and have an agreement to pay fees or a fee waiver has been granted.
The Agency may extend the response time for an additional ten working days when:
- it needs to collect responsive records from field offices;
- the request involves a "voluminous" amount of records which must be located, compiled, and reviewed; or
- the Agency must consult with another agency which has a substantial interest in the responsive material or with two or more other offices of EPA.
When an extension is needed, EPA will notify you and offer you the opportunity to modify or limit your request. Alternatively, you may agree to a different timetable for the processing of your request.
What will it cost?
Your request should also include a statement regarding your willingness to pay statutory fees for the information requested. In accordance with the EPA's revised FOIA regulations (40 CFR 2.100, et. seq.), the fee schedule is as follows:
- Clerical staff time billed at $4.00 per 15 minutes of search and/or review
- Professional staff time billed at $7.00 per 15 minutes of search and/or review
- Managers' time billed at $10.25 per 15 minutes of search and/or review
- Duplication charges at $.15 per page
- No fee will be charged for services at or below $14.00
- Assurance of payment of fees above $25.00 or any other committed amount will be obtained from the requester before commencing any work
- Advance payment of fees above $250 may be required by the Agency before commencing any work
- Any other services not listed above, such as certification of documents or priority mail, will be charged the direct costs
EPA may determine to waive or reduce fees in cases where furnishing the information primarily benefits the general public by significantly assisting citizens in understanding how their government works. You should submit requests for waiver or reduction of fees along with the requests for records under the FOIA. Please include in any waiver request relevant facts or arguments which might support the request.