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Rule

Revisions of Regulations Concerning Procedures for Filing Appeals to Denial in Whole or Part of Initial FOIA Requests

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

ACTION:

Final Rule.

SUMMARY:

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is amending regulations concerning the procedures for filing an appeal to adverse FOIA determinations. The revisions require that appeals be filed within 28 calendar days of the service of the notification of the adverse determination.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

December 5, 2007.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Lester A. Heltzer, Executive Secretary, National Labor Relations Board, Room 11600, 1099 14th Street NW., Washington, DC 20570-0001, Telephone (202) 273-1067, e-mail address Lester.Heltzer@nlrb.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Current regulation

Section 102.117(c)(2)(v) provides in part that “An appeal from an adverse determination made pursuant to paragraph (c)(2)(iii) of this section must be filed within 20 working days of the receipt by the person making the request of the notification of the adverse determination where the request is denied in its entirety; or, in the case of a partial denial, within 20 working days of the receipt of any records being made available pursuant to the request.”

II. Proposed revision

Since the Agency does not send such determinations on initial requests by certified mail, it has no objective means of determining when a requestor receives an adverse determination. Therefore, it is impossible to know from which date to compute time periods from adverse FOIA determinations.

Other agencies' practices support using the date of service rather than date of receipt as the appropriate date for computing timeliness of FOIA appeals. Under 28 CFR Ch. 1, Sec. 16.9, appeals from adverse Department of Justice FOIA determinations must be filed “within 60 days of the date of the letter denying” the request. See also, Center for Biological Diversity v. Gutierrez, 451 F. Supp.2d 57 (D.D.C. 2006)(Department of Commerce regulations provide that appeals from adverse determinations must be received by 5 p.m. EST on the Start Printed Page 68503“thirtieth day after issuance of initial FOIA determination * * *” 15 CFR Sec. 410(a)); Wilbur v. Central Intelligence Agency, 355 F.3rd 675 (DC. Cir. 2004) (The CIA's FOIA regulations require that any administrative appeal “be received within 45 days of the agency's initial decision.” 32 CFR Sec. 1900.42.)

III. Administrative Procedures Act

Because the change involves rules of agency organization, procedure or practice, the Agency is not required to publish it for comment under Section 553 of the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553).

IV. Regulatory Flexibility Act

Because no notice of proposed rulemaking is required for procedural rules, the requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) pertaining to regulatory flexibility analysis do not apply to these rules. However, even if the Regulatory Flexibility Act were to apply, the NLRB certifies that these changes will not have a significant economic impact on small business entities since the changes merely codify the actual practice under the existing rules.

V. Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

Because the rule relates to Agency procedure and practice and merely modifies the agency's existing filing procedures, the Board has determined that the Congressional review provisions of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (5 U.S.C. 801) do not apply.

VI. Paperwork Reduction Act

This revision does not impose any reporting or record keeping requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

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Lists of Subjects in 29 CFR Part 102

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For the reasons set forth above, the NLRB proposes to amend

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PART 102—RULES AND REGULATIONS

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1. The authority citation for

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Authority: Section 6, National Labor Relations Act, as amended ((29 U.S.C. 151, 156). Section 102.117(c) also issued under Section 552(a)(4)(A) of the Freedom of Information Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. 552(a)(4)(A)). Sections 102.143 through 102.155 also issued under Section 504(c)(1) of the Equal Access to Justice Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. 504(c)(1)).

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2. Section 102.117(c)(2)(v) is revised to read as follows:

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Freedom of Information Act Regulations: Board materials and formal documents available for public inspection and copying; requests for described records; time limit for response; appeal from denial of request; fees for document search and duplication; files and records not subject to inspection.
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(c) * * *

(2) * * *

(v) An appeal from an adverse determination made pursuant to paragraph (c)(2)(iii) of this section must be filed within 28 calendar days of the service of the notification of the adverse determination, in whole or in part. If the adverse determination was made in a Regional Office, a Subregional Office, or by the Freedom of Information Officer, Office of the General Counsel, the appeal shall be filed with the General Counsel in Washington, DC. If the adverse determination was made by the Executive Secretary of the Board or the Inspector General, the appeal shall be filed with the Chairman of the Board in Washington, DC. Within 20 working days after receipt of an appeal the General Counsel or the Chairman of the Board, as the case may be, shall make a determination with respect to such appeal and shall notify the person making the request in writing. If the determination is to comply with the request, the record shall be made promptly available to the person making the request upon receipt of payment of any charges due in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (d)(2) of this section. If on appeal the denial of the request for records is upheld in whole or in part, the person making the request shall be notified of the reasons for the determination, the name and title or position of each person responsible for the denial, and the provisions for judicial review of that determination under the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552(4)(B). Even though no appeal is filed from a denial in whole or in part of a request for records by the person making the request, the General Counsel or the Chairman of the Board may, without regard to the time limit for filing of an appeal, sua sponte initiate consideration of an adverse determination under this appeal procedure by written notification to the person making the request. In such event the time limit for making the determination shall commence with the issuance of such notification. An adverse determination by the General Counsel or the Chairman of the Board, as the case may be, will be the final action of the Agency. If the requester wishes to seek review by a court of any adverse determination, the requester must first appeal it under this section.

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Dated: Washington, DC, November 29, 2007.

By Direction of the Board.

Lester A. Heltzer,

Executive Secretary.

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[FR Doc. E7-23521 Filed 12-4-07; 8:45 am]

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