Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wespac and FOIA

President Obama has issued a directive calling for a presumption in favor of disclosure when Freedom of Information Act requests are made.

But Kitty Simonds is still in charge of Wespac (Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council).
Kitty Simonds & Mr. Evans. Photo courtesy of KAHEA.
So Honolulu conservation groups have sued Wespac, NOAA and others to enforce their rights under the FOIA to information about funding and budgeting of the agency.

The complaint is interesting. According to the allegations, Wespac failed to respond to FOIA requests. The conservation groups (Lost Fish, Kahea, and Hawaii Conservation Council) then filed an Administrative complaint with NOAA/Commerce, which also went unresolved, despite a regulation calling for findings and orders within a specified number of days.

So now the matter is in Court. It will be interesting to see whether the new administration follows President Obama's directive.

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