FOIA Advisor

FOIA News: Records about Gold King Mine spill to be made searchable

FOIA News (2015-16)Allan BlutsteinComment

EPA: Released documents will be made searchable

Agency uploaded 29,000 documents in response to Gold King Mine spill

By Shane Benjamin, The Journal, Aug. 6. 2016

Thousands of emails related to the Gold King Mine spill that were posted online last week by the Environmental Protection Agency will eventually be made searchable, the agency said Thursday.

The documents were posted largely in response to multiple open records requests from media outlets across the country that are seeking more information about the Aug. 5, 2015, spill.

They generally consist of email communications involving EPA employees – pre-spill and post-spill – in addition to attachments and meeting invites, the EPA said Thursday in an email to the The Durango Herald. The oldest document is from March 2013, and the most recent is from November 2015.

The documents were uploaded as PDFs to a file-sharing site but are unsearchable without opening each of the 29,126 links. Even then, because the PDFs have been uploaded as images rather than text documents, it is difficult to perform keyword searches without using optical reading software. There’s about 20 gigabytes worth of uploads.

Read more here.