In the News: EPA Makes 10 Years of Pesticide Incident Reports Available on Public Portal 

August 21, 2023 / #Open Government

On July 27, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) release a public facing portal that houses information from EPA’s Incident Data System (IDS), allowing users to access a summary of information submitted on pesticide exposure incidents.  

Previously, this information was only released when responding to FOIA requests or when summarized during pesticide Registration Review.  

Proactive Disclosures Help Beat the Backlog

FOIA regulations stipulate that agencies be proactive, disclosing records that have been or are likely to become subject of multiple FOIA requests, and it appears the EPA has done just that.  

As a practical matter, having records published on public-facing portals, such as the EPA’s standalone IDS or adopting commercial-off-the-shelf technology to proactively publish records online, helps reaffirm an agency’s commitment to proactive open government policy.  

In fact, the DOJ’s “Release to One, Release to All” pilot assessment encourages agencies to set up systems that reduce the burden of multiple requestors asking for the same information.  

Proactive disclosures shift an agency from “reactive” to “proactive,” with the goal of furthering trust in government and meeting constituent needs.

FOIAXpress Public Access Link (PAL) Offers “Electronic Reading Room” to Increase Public Self-Service

Proactive disclosures or releasing records already determined as “of interest” due to the fact multiple requests have been made for the same data are designed to serve the public interest and reduce the number of requests for the same information. The PAL electronic reading room, a module available for FOIAXpress, enables FOIA managers to quickly refer requests to information already made publicly available information and close cases more quickly. 

By seamlessly publishing previously reviewed records directly to the reading room, FOIA programs can easily comply with proactive disclosure requirements, avoid unnecessary and duplicative requests, and close cases more quickly. 

Download the PAL Fact Sheet 

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