FOIA Advisor

FOIA News: MuckRock identifies FOIA's environmentally unfriendly agencies

FOIA News (2015-16)Allan BlutsteinComment

FOIA's worst environmental offenders
Our Earth Day round-up of the most wasteful agencies in public records

By JPat Brown, MuckRock, Apr. 22, 2016

As I am happy to tell anyone who will listen, and several more who won't, envelopes are the worst part of working at MuckRock. They say nothing that couldn't have been said in email, they're infuriatingly time consuming to scan and process, and you have to take them seriously in case somebody snuck a “respond to this in five days or we'll close your request immediately” letter in something post-marked six days ago. They exist soley to contribute as little as possible and then be cataloged. They are the quantum particles of pointless bureaucracy.

They're also a huge waste – in an age where we are routinely asked to not print things if we can help it, government agencies see nothing wrong with single-siding off a few thousand “yeah, still working on it” letters and cramming them in a mailbox at fifty sense of postage a piece.

So, in the spirit of Earth Day, we decided to fight back - we ran through the stats to identify FOIA's worst wastrels, and now we're ready to engage in a healthy bit of envelope shaming. System's simple - we checked out which agencies had sent us the most mailed communications (MCs), and that ran that against the number of total requests we've received.

Read more here