Beyond FOIA: Improving Access to Environmental Information in the United States
29 Geo. Envtl. L. Rev. 481 (2017).
32 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2017 Last revised: 14 Jul 2017
Date Written: July 7, 2017
The Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) does not provide sufficient public access to environmental information. FOIA has long been hailed as the best transparency law scheme in the world. In many ways, that claim is true — FOIA does provide for a significant amount of proactive agency disclosure, and gives the public the right to ask for all manner of agency records. However, other nations have both the basic FOIA statute as well as additional transparency measures for environmental information. This Article compares U.S. progress on providing access to environmental information with international efforts. It recommends the adoption of a specialized scheme like the one implemented by the United Kingdom, which fulfills certain obligations under the 1992 Rio Convention on Biological Diversity and the 1998 Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters.
Keywords: FOIA, Information Access, Transparency, Environmental Law, International Law
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