Under the statute, all federal agencies are required to respond to a FOIA request within twenty business days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays. This time period does not begin until the request is actually received by BPA's FOIA Service Center.
Upon receipt of a FOIA request, BPA's FOIA Public Liaison will respond with an acknowledgement letter and assign it an initial request number for tracking purposes. However, if the necessary information for submitting a proper FOIA request is not provided, BPA will postpone processing the request and the response time period will not be initiated until the required or additional information is provided. Please check the FOIA submission requirements.
An agency is not required to send out releasable documents by the response deadline; it can send a letter informing the requester of its decision and then send the documents within a reasonable time afterward. And under FOIA, an agency may also extend the response time for an additional ten business days when:
(1) the component needs to collect responsive records from field offices;
(2) the request involves a "voluminous" amount of records that must be located, compiled, and reviewed; or
(3) the component needs to consult with another agency or other components.
When an extension is needed, BPA will notify the requester in writing and may seek a modification or limiting of the original request. At this time, both parties may also agree to a different timetable for the processing of the request.