I’ve been advising, and urging, that an effort must be made to acquire a full “core dump” of all records, submittals, letters, emails, reports, etc. used in developing the NY draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (sSGEIS) for hydrofracturing in the Marcellus shale.

The NY State regulation on so doing is available on the web (start here, and let me know if you have trouble getting to it), and 6 NYCRR 616.5 describes the procedure:

(a) A request for records must be in writing. Requests for records can be sent to the department via regular mail at: Records Access Officer, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, 625 Broadway, 14th Fl., Albany, NY 12233-1500 or via electronic mail at: email hidden; JavaScript is required.

(b) A request shall reasonably describe the record or records sought. Whenever possible, a person requesting records should supply information regarding dates, file designations or other information that may help to describe the records sought.

(c) A response to a request which reasonably describes the record or records sought shall be made within five business days of receipt of the request. Where appropriate, the response shall include a statement that access to the record or records sought will be determined in accordance with section 616.7 of this Part.

There are some fine points to  this (gleaned easily from reading the full section the NY New York Codes, Rules and Regulations), but there’s no need to get into them at this point.    As they state in the “Purpose and Scope” part of this rule

(a) The people’s right to know the process of government decisionmaking and the documents and statistics leading to determinations is basic to our society. Access to such information should not be thwarted by shrouding it with the cloak of secrecy or confidentiality.

(b) This Part provides information concerning the procedures by which records including but not limited to reports, statements, examinations, memoranda, opinions, folders, files, books, manuals, pamphlets, forms, papers, designs, drawings, maps, photos, letters, microfilms, computer tapes or disks, electronic records, videos, rules, regulations and codes may be obtained.

(c) Department personnel shall furnish to the public the information and records required by the Freedom of Information Law, as well as records otherwise available by law.

(d) Any conflicts among laws governing public access to records shall be construed in favor of the widest possible availability of public records.

The written request should reflect the language above (asking for everything, “not limited to, but including all reports, statements,” etc.).  The state must make copies available, and such copies can be in electronic format if they exist in that form.  One need not be a lawyer to do this.


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