Using the Freedom of Information Act at DOE Nuclear Weapons Sites

Scott Yundt, Staff Attorney at ANA member group Tri-Valley CAREs, has prepared an extensive document on behalf of the network. The document is entitled "Using the Freedom of Information Act at Department of Energy Nuclear Weapons Sites."

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a cornerstone of Tri-Valley CAREs’ work as the “watchdog” of a federal nuclear weapons facility. Over our decades of using FOIA, we have learned how to best craft requests to obtain the documents and information we are seeking, and when the federal agencies still do not respond or withhold information, we have successfully used litigation many times.

This is true of other watchdog groups that are part of the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA), a network of three dozen organizations from around the country made up of concerned citizens living in the shadow of the US nuclear weapons complex.

In preparation for the 2017 ANA fall meeting recently, held in Idaho near the Idaho National Laboratory, Tri-Valley CAREs’ staff Attorney, Scott Yundt, prepared a guide titled, “Using the Freedom of Information Act at U.S. Department of Energy Nuclear Weapons Sites.”

With the help of other veteran FOIA users, Jay Coghlan from Nuclear Watch of New Mexico and Nikolas Peterson from Hanford Challenge, Tri-Valley CAREs made a presentation to the full group of activists on how they might use FOIA for the first time, or how they might use it more effectively.

The guide includes several sample requests and pieces of correspondence to which users can refer, as well as sections on how to craft an effective request, how to craft a fee waiver, and how to appeal a withholding based on any of the nine FOIA exemptions.

FOIA shines the light of day on government activities inside the nuclear weapons complex. It is an indispensable tool to root out malfeasance and strengthen our basic democracy. In that spirit, we invite you to read, download and use this guide!

Click here read the guide!