All FOIA requesters are entitled to file appeals, based on any type of adverse actions such as, partial denials, full denials, no responsive documents found, denial of fee waivers, or when no reply is made within the statutory time limits.
Once a FOIA request is appealed, a representative from the Office of General Counsel will contact the NOAA FOIA Officer who, in turn, will contact the FOIA Liaison to get copies of all appropriate documentation. Questions on the disposition of appeals in FOIA decisions may be directed to the Department of Commerce Office of the General Counsel. The Electronic FOIA Amendments of 1996 state that requesters have the right to appeal even if they were not denied information under the FOIA or received a "no records" response.
The paragraph shown below should be typed in ALL FOIA response letters that are partially or fully denied and in response letters where no responsive documents were found.
You have the right to appeal this denial. Your appeal must be received within 30 calendar days of the date of the initial response letter by the Assistant General Counsel for Administration. Address your appeal to the following Office:
Assistant General Counsel for Administration (Office) Room 5898-C, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th and Constitution Avenue, NW. Washington, D.C. 20230. Your appeal may also be sent by e-mail to FOIAAppeals@doc.gov or by facsimile (fax) to 202-482-2552.
The appeal must include a copy of the original request, the response to the request and a statement of the reason why withheld records should be made available and why denial of the records was in error. The submission of your appeal (including e-mail and fax submissions) is not complete without the required attachments. The appeal letter, the envelope, the e-mail subject line, and the fax cover sheet should be clearly marked "Freedom of Information Act Appeal." The e-mail, fax machine, and Office are monitored only on working days during normal business hours (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday). FOIA appeals posted to the e-mail box, fax machine or Office after normal business hours will be deemed received on the next normal business day.