|Weekly News Digest
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New FOIAonline Platform Launched
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the U.S. Department of Commerce have partnered to develop an online system aimed at expanding public access to information requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). FOIAonline, formerly known as the FOIA Module, is available to offer the public one place to submit FOIA requests, track their progress, communicate with the processing agency, search other requests, access previously released responsive documents, and file appeals with participating agencies.
For agencies, FOIAonline provides a secure website to receive and store requests, assign and process requests, post responses, generate metrics, manage records electronically, create management reports, and electronically generate the annual report required from each agency by FOIA.
EPA began looking at the feasibility of a FOIA portal in 2010 with the idea of leveraging Regulations.gov, the federal rulemaking portal that allows people to comment on federal regulations and other agency regulatory actions. EPA administers Regulations.gov, which has helped FOIAonline avoid many startup costs, resulting in a total of $1.3 million to launch and an estimated cost avoidance of $200 million over the next 5 years if broadly adopted.
Six federal agencies now have partnered to develop and deploy FOIAonline along with EPA, including the Department of Commerce, NARA, the Department of the Treasury, the Federal Labor Relations Authority, and the Merit Systems Protection Board, each of which will deploy on its own schedule.
Source: National Archives and Records Administration
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