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Non-profit Freedom Of Information Act requestor claims EPA abusing fee waivers

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Officials with the Competitive Enterprise Institute are appealing an Environmental Protection Agency decision to "arbitrarily and capricously" deny two fee waiver requests submitted by the conservative non-profit, The Washington Examiner has learned.

Larry Gottesman, EPA's national FOIA officer, denied the CEI requests in retaliation for the non-profit's persistence in seeking copies of all documents related to any email accounts, IM accounts or other forms of electronic communication the agency made available to former administrator Lisa Jackson, Christopher C. Horner claimed in an appeal letter Friday.

Gottesman "is the same individual whom the undersigned counsel had identified in a civil FOIA action, filed earlier that same week and in a sworn affidavit, as having ordered no further work be performed on two different requests by undersigned counsel," Horner said. "This filing also led to unfavorable press coverage."

Gottesman could not be reached for comment Sunday.

"As such we note that not only is EPA's denial of CEI's fee waiver improper as a matter of substance, it is also facially improper given Mr. Gottesman's obvious conflict," Horner said.

Horner asked the court to order EPA to reverse its waiver, remove Gottesman "from further review of the matter" and produce electronic copies of all documents sought by CEI that aren't subject to exemption under a specific provision of the FOIA.

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