Research Tools: “What Went on in the Trump EPA? Announcing a New FOIA Archive”
On July 13 at 3PM EST, Merlin Chowkwanyun of Toxic Docs, Chris Sellers of the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative, and Elena Saxonhouse of the Sierra Club will publicly debut a cache of internal documents from the Trump administration detailing what it did to hamper the efficacy of the Environmental Protection Agency. It’s the latest addition to a project we’re calling EDGIFOIA, an initiative of EDGI, Toxic Docs, Sierra Club, and other environmental and open government groups to pool documents from Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests over the past few years into a single, easily searchable repository. The repository includes documents revealing behind-the-scenes maneuvering of Trump’s first EPA administrator, deliberations that led to the dismantling of the Clean Power Plan, and the many firms that took advantage of the agency’s receptiveness to industry.
This latest trove of documents adds to the batch made available when the repository first opened to the public in December 2020, upon the 50th anniversary of EPA’s founding. This venture builds on Freedom of Information Act and state-level sunshine laws that enable organizations to request documents on the inner workings of environmental agencies. Yet FOIA’d documents are often released in thousand-page data dumps with little regard for ease of use or broader accessibility. Through a portal on EDGI’s “A People’s EPA” website, EDGIFOIA collects a growing number of these documents in one place and makes them eminently more searchable than current FOIA portals allow.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.