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Northwest Environmental Advocates v. United States Environmental Protection Agency

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

October 7, 2019

NORTHWEST ENVIRONMENTAL ADVOCATES, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, Defendant.

          Paul Kampmeier, WSBA #31560 Kampmeier & Knutsen PLLC Attorneys for Northwest Environmental Advocates

          BRIAN T. MORAN United States Attorney

          Michelle R. Lambert, NYS #4666657 Assistant United States Attorney Western District of Washington United States Attorney's Office Attorneys for Defendant U.S. EPA

          [PROPOSED] ORDER GRANTING THE PARTIES' JOINT MOTION FOR ENTRY OF ORDER SETTING, DEADLINES

          The Honorable James L. Robart United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Northwest Environmental Advocates (NWEA) brought this Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against defendant U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The parties have filed a Joint Motion for Entry of Agreed Order Vacating Case Schedule and Establishing Deadlines for EPA's FOIA Responses (Doc. #10). The Court hereby GRANTS that motion. As per the parties' October 1, 2019 stipulations and agreement:

1. All existing case deadlines are vacated.
2. NWEA shall not seek relief in this case for claim six in the complaint.
3. EPA shall comply with the following deadlines and obligations:
a. By March 6, 2020, EPA shall complete its search for responsive records and send NWEA all non-exempt responsive records and EPA's final response to NWEA's January 11, 2019 FOIA request to EPA regarding polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) in Puget Sound and elsewhere (request number EPA-R10-2019-002757);
b. For NWEA's January 11, 2019 FOIA request to EPA regarding nutrient pollution in Puget Sound and elsewhere (request number EPA-R10-2019-002758), EPA shall: (i) on a monthly basis, review at least 150 potentially responsive records and disclose non-exempt responsive records to NWEA, with the first monthly production to be on or before November 29, 2019; and (ii) send NWEA all non-exempt responsive records and EPA's final response to that FOIA request by March 20, 2020. The parties shall work on confirming the scope of the search and shall confer about extending the deadline if necessary;
c. By December 2, 2019, EPA shall respond in writing to the issues set forth in NWEA's May 9, 2019 administrative FOIA appeal (FOIA appeal reference number EPA-HQ-2019-005645) and make any additional disclosures, as appropriate;
d. Within thirty days of the final response deadlines set forth in paragraphs 3(a)-(c) herein, EPA shall send NWEA a basic written index of redactions and withholdings. For redactions, EPA shall mark each redaction with the correlating exemption number. NWEA will identify in writing documents that have been withheld or redacted and that NWEA seeks additional information about, to which EPA will respond;
e. For all its responses, EPA shall endeavor to retroactively provide NWEA with color copies for documents identified by NWEA. For documents already received, in addition to the documents already identified in NWEA's May 9, 2019 administrative FOIA appeal, NWEA may identify documents that it would like to receive a color copy of and EPA shall endeavor to promptly provide a color copy of the documents to the extent it is technologically feasible to do so. EPA shall produce emails and attachments in consecutive order in the productions, or otherwise provide an index or written information allowing NWEA to associate produced emails with attachments. For responsive attachments that are withheld in full, EPA shall also provide information concerning the document identity of the parent email; and
f. For all the FOIA requests and responses at issue in this case, including NWEA's March 27, 2019 FOIA request to EPA regarding Clean Water Act section 319 funding to Oregon (request number EPA-R10-2019-004570), the parties shall work in good faith to resolve any disputes and shall meet and confer regarding EPA's responses, in particular if EPA encounters technical difficulties or there is a dispute about any ...

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