Requesters should consult Bonneville Power Administration's FOIA regulations, which outline the Department of Energy's procedures governing Freedom of Information Act requests.
A FOIA request can be made for any agency record; however, there are statutory exemptions that authorize withholding of information. When BPA does withhold information, it will specify which FOIA exemption(s) it is claiming. BPA will not conduct research, analyze data, answer written questions, or create records in order to respond to a FOIA request.
A FOIA request must contain the following elements and requests for information should be as specific as possible:
- A statement requesting records under the Freedom of Information Act.
- A reasonable description of the documents sought, so that a professional employee, who is familiar with the subject area can ascertain what records are being sought and locate them with a reasonable amount of effort. A sweeping request lacking specifics will not meet FOIA criteria. In making a request, a requester should be as specific as possible with regard to names, titles, dates, places, events, subjects, recipients, the component(s) likely to maintain that record, etc. If known, a requester should include any file designations or descriptions for the records sought. Additionally, BPA uses the date upon which a record search begins as the "cut-off" date for determining the records responsive to a FOIA request.
- A requester's status description is needed to help determine the appropriate assessment of fees. Some examples of requester status are:
- I am representative of the news media affiliated with _______, and this request is made as part of news gathering and not for a commercial use;
- I am affiliated with an educational or noncommercial scientific institution, and this request is made for a scholarly or scientific purpose and not for commercial use;
- I am an individual seeking information for personal use and not for a commercial use; or
- I am affiliated with a private corporation and am seeking information for use in the company's business.
- A requester must state a willingness to pay for processing costs, even if it doesn't result in any responsive document. BPA charges no fee when the processing cost is less than $15. The options are:
- I am willing to pay fees for this request up to a maximum of $ ____. (If the requester estimates the fees will exceed this amount, they can request to be notified once a fee estimate is determined. However, the request will not be subject to the 20-day response time limit until the requester returns a signed acceptance letter for the fee estimate).
- I request a waiver of all fees for this request. Disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government and is not primarily in my commercial interest. Please include a specific explanation.
Note: An individual requester, scholar, or public interest group is more likely to qualify for a fee waiver than a commercial user. Fees will be waived or reduced if disclosure of the information is in the public interest and will contribute to public understanding of the operations or activities of BPA.
- In order to protect privacy when requesting personal information, a requester must provide either a notarized statement or a statement signed under penalty of perjury, stating that they are the person that they say they are. This requirement is fulfilled by: (1) signature on request letter witnessed by a notary, or (2) including the following statement immediately above requester signature on request letter: "I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed on [date]." This requirement helps protect private information and the request will not be processed without the aforementioned compliance.
Note: Under certain circumstances, a requester may be entitled to receive more information under the Privacy Act of 1974 (a separate federal statute) than under the FOIA. Generally, anyone can request access to any agency record under FOIA; Privacy Act requests are more limited and can be made only by (a) U.S. citizens or aliens lawfully admitted for permanent U.S. residence, (b) who are seeking information about themselves, (c) which is in a system of records maintained under their names or other personal identifiers. Even if a request does not specifically mention the Privacy Act, BPA will automatically treat the requests as being made both under the FOIA and the Privacy Act whenever it is appropriate to do so.
- Requester must provide contact information: name, address, telephone and fax numbers, and e-mail address.
- Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests can be submitted:
In writing to:
C. M. Frost, FOIA/Privacy Act Officer
Mail Stop DK CGI-7
Bonneville Power Administration
P.O. Box 3621
Portland, OR 97208
- Online by completing the online request form
Note: only one submission method is necessary.
If you have questions about submitting a FOIA request, contact BPA's FOIA Public Liaison:
FOIA Service Center Fax - 503-230-4019
Prior to submitting a request, please browse BPA's home page, online publications Web page and FOIA electronic reading room, as the information you are seeking may already be available. For additional information, check the Procedures and Response Time Web pages.