[Code of Federal Regulations]
[Title 40, Volume 28]
[Revised as of July 1, 2002]
From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access
[CITE: 40CFR1515.1]
 
[Page 494]
 
                   TITLE 40--PROTECTION OF ENVIRONMENT
 
               CHAPTER V--COUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY
 
PART 1515--FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT PROCEDURES--Table of Contents
 
Sec. 1515.1  What are these procedures?
 
    The Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552, commonly known as 
FOIA) is a law which creates a procedure for any person to request 
official documents and other records from United States Government 
agencies. The law requires every Federal agency to make available to the 
public the material requested, unless the material falls under one of 
the limited exceptions stated in section 552(b)(5) of the Act, and the 
agency has good reason to refuse the request. These procedures explain 
how the Council on Environmental Quality--one of several offices in the 
Executive Office of the President--will carry out the Freedom of 
Information Act. They are written from the standpoint of a member of the 
public requesting material from the Council.
 
                           Organization of CEQ
 
Sec. 1515.2  What is the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ)?
 
    (a) The Council on Environmental Quality (``CEQ'' or ``the 
Council'') was created by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, 
as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 through 4347). The Council's authority is 
derived from that Act, the Environmental Quality Improvement Act of 
1970, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4371-4374), Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 
1977 (July 15, 1977), and Executive Order 11514, Protection and 
Enhancement of Environmental Quality, March 5, 1970, as amended by 
Executive Order 11991, May 24, 1977.
    (b) The Council's primary responsibilities include the following:
    (1) To review and evaluate the programs and activities of the 
Federal Government to determine how they are contributing to the 
attainment of the national environmental policy;
    (2) To assist Federal agencies and departments in appraising the 
effectiveness of their existing and proposed facilities, programs, 
policies, and activities affecting environmental quality;
    (3) To develop and recommend to the President policies to improve 
environmental quality to meet the conservation, social, economic, 
health, and other requirements and goals of the Nation;
    (4) To advise and assist the President in achieving international 
cooperation for dealing with environmental problems;
    (5) To assist in coordinating among Federal agencies and departments 
those programs which affect, protect, and improve environmental quality, 
including Federal compliance with the environmental impact statement 
process, and to seek resolution of significant environmental issues;
    (6) To foster research relating to environmental quality and the 
impacts of new or changing technologies; and
    (7) To analyze long and short term environmental problems and trends 
and assist in preparing an annual Environmental Quality Report to the 
President and the Congress.
    (c) The Council maintains a ``Quarterly Index'' which lists its 
current policies and procedures, as required by section 552(a)(2) of the 
Freedom of Information Act. This index is updated and published in the 
Federal Register quarterly, starting in 1976. The Quarterly Index--and 
the specific items listed in the index--are available on request from 
the Freedom of Information Officer. You may also inspect or copy
any of these materials at the Council's office during the hours stated 
below in Sec. 1515.3(f).
 
Sec. 1515.3  How is CEQ organized?
 
    (a) The Council is made up of three members appointed by the 
President and subject to approval by the Senate. One member is 
designated as chairman by the President. All three serve in a full-time 
capacity.
    (b) The National Environmental Policy Act and the Environmental 
Quality Improvement Act give the Council the authority to hire any 
officers and staff that may be necessary to carry out responsibilities 
and functions specified in these two Acts. Also, the use of consultants 
and experts is permitted.
    (c) In addition to the three members, the Council has program and 
legal staff.
    (d) The Council has no field or regional offices.
    (e) The Council has a public affairs office which is responsible for 
providing information to the general public, the Congress, and the 
press. If you are interested in general information about the Council or 
have questions about the Council's recent activities or policy 
positions, you should call this office at (202) 633-7005 or write to the 
``Public Affairs Office'' of the Council at the address given in the 
next paragraph.
    Note: The CEQ public affairs office can respond fully and promptly 
to most questions you may have; the Council suggests that the Freedom of 
Information Act procedures be used when you are seeking a specific 
document and have had difficulty obtaining it.
    (f) The Council is located at 722 Jackson Place NW., Washington, DC 
20503. Office hours are 9-5:30, Monday through Friday, except legal 
holidays. If you wish to meet with any of the staff, please write or 
phone ahead for an appointment. The main number is 202-456 6224.
 
                    Procedures for Requesting Records
 
Sec. 1515.5  How to make a Freedom of Information Act request.
 
    (a) The Chairman has appointed a Freedom of Information Officer who 
will be responsible for overseeing the Council's administration of the 
Freedom of Information Act and for receiving, routing, and overseeing 
the processing of all Freedom of Information requests. The Chairman has 
also appointed an Appeals Officer who is responsible for processing any 
appeals.
    (b) Requesting information from the Council. (1) When you make a 
Freedom of Information Act request to the Council, the Freedom of 
Information Officer shall decide how to respond to--or ``make an initial 
determination on''--your request within 10 working days from the date 
the Officer receives the request. The Freedom of Information Officer 
will then provide you with written notification of the determination.
    (2) You can make a Freedom of Information Act request by writing a 
letter which states that you are making a Freedom of Information Act 
request. Address your letter to:
 
    Freedom of Information Officer, Council on Environmental Quality, 
Executive Office of the President, 722 Jackson Place NW., Washington, DC 
20503.
 
    (3) In your request you should identify the desired record or 
reasonably describe it. The request should be as specific as possible so 
that the item can be readily found. You should not make blanket 
requests, such as requests for ``the entire file of'' or ``all materials 
relating to'' a specified subject.
    (4) The Council will make a reasonable effort to assist you in 
defining the request to eliminate extraneous and unwanted materials and 
to keep search and copying fees to a minimum. If you have budgetary 
constraints and anticipate that your request might be costly you may 
wish to indicate the maximum fee you are prepared to pay for acquiring 
the information. (See Sec. 1515.15(c) also.)
    (5) The 10 day period for making a determination on a request will 
begin when the records reqested are specified or reasonably 
identifiable.
    (6) Despite its name, the Freedom of Information Act does not 
require a government agency to create or research information that you 
would like or that you may think the agency should have. The Act only 
requres that existing records be made available to the public.
    (c) Council's response to a request. (1) Upon receipt of any request 
under the Act, the Freedom of Information Officer shall direct the 
request to the appropriate staff member at the Council, who will review 
the request and advise the Freedom of Information Officer as soon as 
possible.
    (2) If it is appropriate to grant the request, the staff member will 
immediately collect the requested materials in order to accompany, 
wherever possible, the Freedom of Information Officer's letter notifying 
you of the decision.
    (3) If your request is denied, in part or in full, the letter 
notifying you of the decision will be signed by the Freedom of 
Information Officer, and will include the names of any other individuals 
who participated in the decision. The letter will include the reasons 
for any denial and the procedure for filing an appeal.
    (d) Appeals. (1) If you are not satisfied with the response you have 
received from the Freedom of Information Officer, you may ask the 
Council to reconsider the decision. You should explain what material you 
still wish to receive, and why you believe the Council should disclose 
this to you. This is called an ``appeal.'' You must make you appeal 
within 45 days of the date on the letter which denied your request.
    (2) You can make an appeal by writing a letter to:
 
FOIA Appeals Officer, Council on Environmental Quality, Executive Office 
of the President, 722 Jackson Place NW., Washington, DC 20503.
 
    (3) Your letter should specify the records being requested and ask 
the Appeals Officer to review the determination made by the Freedom of 
Information Officer. The letter should explain the basis for the appeal.
    (4) The Appeals Officer shall decide the appeal--or ``make a final 
determination''--within 20 working days from the date the Officer 
receives the appeal. The Appeals Officer (or designee) will send you a 
letter informing you of the decision as soon as it is made. If the 
Appeals Officer denies your request, in part or in whole, the letter 
will also notify you of the provisions for judicial review and the names 
of any persons who participated in the final determination of the 
appeal.
    (e) Extending the Council's time to respond. In unusual 
circumstances, the time limits for response to your request (paragraphs 
(b) and (d) of this section) may be extended by the Council for not more 
than 10 working days. Extensions may be granted by the Freedom of 
Information Officer in the case of initial requests and by the Appeals 
Officer in the case of any appeals. The extension period may be split 
between the initial request and the appeal but may not exceed 10 working 
days overall. Any extension will be made or confirmed to you in writing 
and will set forth the reasons for the extension and the date that the 
final determination is expected. The term ``unusual circumstances'' 
means:
    (i) The need to search for and collect the requested records from * 
* * establishments that are separate from the office processing the 
request;
    (ii) The need to search for, collect, and appropriately examine a 
voluminous amount of separate and distinct records which are demanded in 
a single request; or
    (iii) The need for consultation, which shall be conducted with all 
practicable speed, with another agency having a substantial interest in 
the determination of the request or among two or more components of the 
agency having substantial subject-matter interest therein.
 
(5 U.S.C. 552(a)(6)(B))
 
                       Availability of Information
 
Sec. 1515.10  What information is available, and how can it be obtained?
 
    (a) When a request for information has been approved, in whole or in 
part, you may make an appointment to inspect or copy the materials 
requested during regular business hours by writing or telephoning the 
Freedom of Information Officer at the address or phone number given in 
Sec. 1515.3(f). You may be charged reasonable fees for copying 
materials, as explained by Sec. 1515.15. The Council on Environmental 
Quality will permit copying of any available material but will reserve 
the right to limit the number of copies
 
[[Page 497]]
 
made with the Council's copying facilities.
    (b) In general, all records of the Council are available to the 
public, as required by the Freedom of Information Act. The Council 
claims the right, where it is applicable, to withhold material under the 
provisions specified in the Freedom of Information Act as amended (5 
U.S.C. 552(b)).
    (c) The legislative history of the establishment of the Council 
states that the Congress intended the Council to be a confidential 
advisor to the President on matters of environmental policy. Therefore, 
members of the public should presume that communications between the 
Council and the President (and their staffs) are confidential and 
ordinarily will not be released; they will usually fall, at a minimum, 
within Exemption 5 of the Act. The Freedom of Information Officer shall 
review each request, however, to determine whether the record is 
exclusively factual or may have factual portions which may be reasonably 
segregated and made available to the requester. Furthermore, on the 
recommendation of the FOIA Officer or Appeals Officer, the Council will 
consider the release of an entire record, even if it comes within an 
exemption or contains policy advice, if its disclosure would not impair 
Executive policymaking processes or the Council's participation in 
decisionmaking.
 
                                  Costs
 
Sec. 1515.15  What fees may be charged, and how should they be paid?
 
    (a) Following is the schedule of fees you may be charged for the 
search and reproduction of information available under the Freedom of 
Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552, as amended.
    (1) Search for records. Five dollars per hour when the search is 
conducted by a clerical employee. Eight dollars per hour when the search 
is conducted by a professional employee. There will be no charge for 
searches of less than one hour.
    (2) Duplication of records. Records will be duplicated at a rate of 
$0.10 per page for copying of 10 pages or more. There will be no charge 
for duplicating 9 pages or less.
    (3) Other. When no specific fee has been established for a service, 
or the request for a service does not fall under categories (1) and (2), 
the Administrative Officer is authorized to establish an appropriate fee 
based on ``direct costs'' as provided in the Freedom of Information Act. 
Examples of services covered by this provision include searches 
involving computer time or special travel, transportation, or 
communication costs.
    (b) If the Council anticipates that the fees chargeable under this 
section will amount to more than $25, or the maximum amount specified in 
your request, you shall be promptly notified of the amount of the 
anticipated fee or the closest estimate of the amount. In such instances 
you will be advised of your option to consult with Council personnel in 
order to reformulate the request in a manner which will reduce the fees, 
yet still meet your needs. A reformulated request shall be considered a 
new request, thus beginning a new 10 working day period for processing.
    (c) Fees must be paid in full prior to issuance of the requested 
copies. In the event you owe money for previous request, copies of 
records will not be provided for any subsequent request until the debt 
has been paid in full.
    (d) Search costs are due and payable even if the record which was 
requested cannot be located after all reasonable efforts have been made, 
or if the FOI Officer determines that a record which has been requested 
is exempt under the Freedom of Information Act as amended and is to be 
withheld.
    (e) Payment shall be in the form either of a personal check or bank 
draft drawn on a bank in the United States, or a postal money order. 
Checks shall be made payable to General Services Administration. You 
should mail or deliver any payment for services to the Administrative 
Office, Council on Environmental Quality, 722 Jackson Place NW., 
Washington, DC 20503.
    (f) A receipt for fees paid will be given upon request. Refunds of 
fees paid for services actually rendered will not be made.
    (g) The Council may waive all or part of any fee provided for in 
this section when the Freedom of Information Officer (or designee) deems it to be in 
either the Council's interest or in the general public's interest.
 
PART 1516--PRIVACY ACT IMPLEMENTATION--Table of Contents
 
Sec. 1516.1  Purpose and scope.
 
    The purposes of these regulations are to:
    (a) Establish a procedure by which an individual can determine if 
the Council on Environmental Quality (hereafter known as the Council) 
maintains a system of records which includes a record pertaining to the 
individual; and
    (b) Establish a procedure by which an individual can gain access to 
a record pertaining to him or her for the purpose of review, amendment 
and/or correction.
 
Sec. 1516.2  Definitions.
 
    For the purpose of these regulations:
    (a) The term individual means a citizen of the United States or an 
alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence;
    (b) The term maintain means maintain, collect, use or disseminate;
    (c) The term record means any item or collection or grouping of 
information about an individual that is maintained by the Council 
(including, but not limited to, his or her employment history, payroll 
information, and financial transactions), and that contains his or her 
name, or an identifying number, symbol, or other identifying particular 
assigned to the individual such as a social security number;
    (d) The term system of records means a group of any records under 
the control of the Council from which information is retrieved by the 
name of the individual or by some identifying number, symbol, or other 
identifying particular assigned to the individual; and
    (e) The term routine use means with respect to the disclosure of a 
record, the use of such record for a purpose which is compatible with 
the purpose for which it was collected.
 
Sec. 1516.3  Procedures for requests pertaining to individual records in a record system.
 
    An individual shall submit a written request to the Administrative 
Officer of the Council to determine if a system of records named by the 
individual contains a record pertaining to the individual. The 
individual shall submit a written request to the Administrative Officer 
of the Council which states the individual's desire to review his or her 
record. The Administrative Officer of the Council is available to answer 
questions regarding these regulations and to provide assistance in 
locating records in the Council's system of records.
 
[42 FR 32537, June 27, 1977; 42 FR 35960, July 13, 1977]
 
Sec. 1516.4  Times, places, and requirements for the identification of the 
individual making a request.
 
    An individual making a request to the Administrative Officer of the 
Council pursuant to Sec. 1516.3 shall present the request at the 
Council's office, 722 Jackson Place NW., Washington, DC 20503, on any 
business day between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and should be 
prepared to identify himself by signature. Requests will also be 
accepted in writing if mailed to the Council's offices and signed by the 
requester.
 
Sec. 1516.5  Disclosure of requested information to the individual.
 
    Upon verification of identity, the Council shall disclose to the 
individual the information contained in the record which pertains to 
that individual.
    (a) The individual may be accompanied for this purpose by a person 
of his choosing.
    (b) Upon request of the individual to whom the record pertains, all 
information in the accounting of disclosures will be made available.
 
[42 FR 35960, July 13, 1977]
 
Sec. 1516.6  Request for correction or amendment to the record.
 
    The individual may submit a request to the Administrative Officer of 
the Council which states the individual's desire to correct or to amend 
his or her record. This request must be made in accordance with the 
procedures of Sec. 1516.4 and shall describe in detail the change which 
is requested.
 
[42 FR 32537, June 27, 1977. Redesignated at 42 FR 35960, July 13, 1977
 
Sec. 1516.7  Agency review of request for correction or amendment of the record.
 
    Within ten working days of the receipt of a request to correct or to 
amend a record, the Administrative Officer of the Council will 
acknowledge in writing such receipt and promptly either:
    (a) Make any correction or amendment of any portion thereof which 
the individual believes is not accurate, relevant, timely, or complete; 
or
    (b) Inform the individual of his or her refusal to correct or amend 
the record in accordance with the request, the reason for the refusal, 
and the procedure established by the Council for the individual to 
request a review of that refusal.
 
Sec. 1516.8  Appeal of an initial adverse agency determination on correction or amendment of the record.
 
    An individual may appeal refusal by the Administrative Officer of 
the Council to correct or to amend his or her record by submitting a 
request for a review of such refusal to the General Counsel, Council on 
Environmental Quality, 722 Jackson Place NW., Washington, DC 20503. The 
General Counsel shall, not later than thirty working days from the date 
on which the individual requests such a review, complete such review and 
make a final determination unless, for good cause shown, the General 
Counsel extends such thirty day period. If, after his or her review, the 
General Counsel also refuses to correct or to amend the record in 
accordance with the request, the individual may file with the Council a 
concise statement setting forth the reasons for his or her disagreement 
with the General Counsel's decision and may seek judicial relief under 5 
U.S.C. 552a(g)(1)(A).
 
Sec. 1516.9  Disclosure of a record to a person other than the individual to whom the record pertains.
 
    The Council will not disclose a record to any individual other than 
to the individual to whom the record pertains without receiving the 
prior written consent of the individual to whom the record pertains, 
unless the disclosure either has been listed as a ``routine use'' in the 
Council's notices of its systems of records or falls within the special 
conditions of disclosure set forth in section 3 of the Privacy Act of 
1974.
 
Sec. 1516.10  Fees.
 
    If an individual requests copies of his or her record, he or she 
shall be charged ten cents per page, excluding the cost of any search 
for the record, in advance of receipt of the pages.