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to respond to the appeal within the administrative deadline or any extension of the administrative deadline.

firmed in writing and should specify clearly the total time agreed upon.

(52 FR 49386, Dec. 31, 1987, as amended at 62 FR 33979, June 24, 1997)

(52 FR 49386, Dec. 31, 1987, as amended at 62 FR 33979, June 24, 1997)

8 1.15 Failure to meet administrative

deadlines.

In the event an agency fails to meet either of the administrative deadlines set forth in $1.8, plus any extension authorized by $1.14, it shall notify the requester, state the reasons for the delay, and the date by which it expects to dispatch a determination. Although the requester may be deemed to have exhausted his or her administrative remedies under 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(6)(C), the agency shall continue processing the request as expeditiously as possible and dispatch the determination when it is reached in the same manner and form as if it had been reached within the applicable deadline.

$ 1.16 Fee schedule.

8 1.14 Extension of administrative

deadlines. (a) In unusual circumstances as specified in this section, either of the administrative deadlines prescribed in $1.8 may be extended by an authorized agency official. Written notice of the extension shall be sent to the requester within the applicable deadline, setting forth the reasons for such extension and the date a determination is expected to be sent to the requester. In no event shall the extension exceed a total of 10 working days.

(b) As used in this section, "unusual circumstances" shall be limited to the following:

(1) The need to search for and collect the requested records from field facilities or other establishments that are separate from the office processing the request;

(2) The need to search for, collect, and appropriately examine a voluminous amount of separate and distinct records which are demanded in a single request; and

(3) The need for consultation, which shall be conducted with all practicable speed, with another Department or agency having a substantial interest in the determination of the request or among two or more components of the agency having substantial subject-matter interest in the request. (Note: consultation regarding policy or legal issues between an agency and the Office of the General Counsel, Office of Communications, or the Department of Justice is not a basis for extension under this section.)

(c) The 10-day extension authorized by this section may be divided between the initial and appellate reviews, but in no event shall the total extension exceed 10 working days.

(d) Nothing in this section shall preclude the agency and the requester from agreeing to an extension of time. Any such agreement should be con

Pursuant to $2.28 of this title, the Chief Financial Officer is delegated authority to promulgate regulations providing for a uniform fee schedule applicable to all agencies of the Department regarding requests for records under this subpart. The regulations providing for a uniform fee schedule are found in appendix A of this subpart.

(62 FR 33979, June 24, 1997]

$ 1.17 Exemptions and discretionary

release.

(a) All agency records, except those specifically exempted from mandatory disclosure by one or more provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552(b), shall be made promptly available to any person submitting a request under this subpart.

(b) Except where disclosure is specifically prohibited by Executive Order, statute, or applicable regulations, an agency may release records exempt from mandatory disclosure under 5 U.S.C. 552(b) whenever it determines that such disclosure would be in the public interest. Such a record is considered to be in the public interest if the benefit to the public in releasing the document outweighs any harm likely to result from disclosure.

a new record in order to fulfill a request for records. Such compilation may be undertaken voluntarily if the agency determines this action to be in the public interest or the interest of USDA.

8 1.20 Authentication.

When a request is received for an authenticated copy of a document which the agency determines to make available to the requesting party, the agency shall cause a correct copy to be prepared and sent to the Office of the General Counsel which shall certify the same and cause the seal of the Department to be affixed, except that the Hearing Clerk in the Office of Administrative Law Judges may authenticate copies of documents in the records of the Hearing Clerk and that the Director of the National Appeals Division may authenticate copies of documents in the records of the National Appeals Division.

g 1.18 Annual report.

(a) Each agency of the Department shall compile the following information for each calendar year:

(1) The number of determinations made by such agency not to comply with initial requests for records made to it under $1.6(a), and the reasons for each such determination;

(2) The number of appeals made by persons under $1.8(d), the result of such appeals, and the reason for the action upon each appeal that results in a denial of information;

(3) The name and title or position of each person responsible for the denial of records requested under this subpart and the number of instances of participation for each;

(4) The results of each proceeding conducted pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(4)(F), including a report of the disciplinary action taken against the officer or employee who was primarily responsible for improperly withholding records or an explanation of why disciplinary action was not taken;

(5) A copy of every rule made by the agency regarding this subpart;

(6) The total amount of fees collected by the agency for making records available under this subpart; and

(7) Such other information as indicates efforts to administer this subpart.

(b) Each agency shall compile the information required by paragraph (a) of this section for the preceding calendar year into a report and submit this report to the Director of Communications, Office of Communications, by February 1 of each year.

(c) The Director of Communications, Office of Communications shall combine the reports from the various agencies within USDA into a Departmental report, and shall arrange for submission of this report to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by March 1 of each year in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(e).

[60 FR 67308, Dec. 29, 1995)

8 1.22 Records in formal adjudication

proceedings. Records in formal adjudication proceedings are on file in the Hearing Clerk's office, Office of Administrative Law Judges, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC 20250, and shall be made available to the public.

$ 1.23 Preservation of records. Agencies shall

preserve all correspondence relating to the requests it receives under this subpart, and all records processed pursuant to such requests, until such time as the destruction of such correspondence and records is authorized pursuant to title 44 of the United States Code, and to the General Records Schedule. Under no circumstances shall records be destroyed while they are the subject of a pending request, appeal, or lawsuit under the FOIA.

APPENDIX A TO SUBPART A-FEE

SCHEDULE

(52 FR 49386, Dec. 31, 1987, as amended at 62 FR 33980, June 24, 1997]

Section 1. General.

1.19 Compilation of new records.

Nothing in 5 U.S.C. 552 or this subpart requires that any agency compile

This schedule sets forth fees to be charged for providing copies of records including photographic reproductions, microfilm, maps and mosaics, and related services-under the search and review fees may still be assessed); or

(3) When any notices, decisions, orders, or other materials are required by law to be served on a party in any proceeding or matter before any Department agency.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Records and related services are available at the locations specified by agencies in their FOLA implementing regulations. The fees set forth in this schedule are applicable to all agencies of the Department of Agriculture, and are based upon guidelines prescribed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued at 52 FR 10012 (March 27, 1987). No higher fees or charges in addition to those provided for in this schedule may be charged à party requesting services under the Freedom of Information Act.

Section 4. Fees for records and related services.

Section 2. Types of services for which fees may

be charged.

Subject to the criteria set forth in section 5 of this appendix, fees may be assessed under the Freedom of Information Act on all requests involving such services as record search, duplication, and review. Fees may also be charged in situations involving special service to a request, such as certifying that records requested are true copies, or sending records by special methods such as express mail, etc. For services not covered by the FOLA or by this appendix, agencies may set their own fees in accordance with applicable law, or costs incurred will be assessed the requester at the actual cost to the Government. For example, where records are required to be shipped from one office to another by commercial carrier in order to timely answer a request, the actual freight charge will be assessed the requester.

Section 3. Instances in which fees will not be

charged.

(a) The fee for photocopies of pages 875" x 14" or smaller shall be $0.20 per page (per individual side of sheet).

(b) The fee for photocopies larger than 8772" X 14" shall be $0.50 per linear foot of the longest side of the copy.

(c) The fee for other forms of duplicated records, such as microform, audio-visual materials, or machine-readable documentation (1.e., magnetic tape or disk), shall be the actual direct cost of producing the records.

(d) Manual searches shall be charged for in one of the two following manners in the given order:

(1) When feasible, at the salary rate of the employee conducting the search, plus 16 percent of the employee's basic pay; or

(2) Where a homogeneous class of personnel is used exclusively, at the rate of $10.00 per hour for clerical time, and $20.00 per hour for supervisory or professional time. Charges should be computed to the nearest quarter hour required for the search. A homogeneous class of personnel, for purposes of conducting manual searches and where more than one individual is involved, is a group of employees of like rank, grade, pay or position. A heterogeneous class of personnel is a group of employees of unlike rank, grade, pay, or position. If a heterogeneous class of personnel is involved in a search then the search shall be charged for at the salary rate of the individuals.

(e) Mainframe computer searches and services shall be charged for at the rates established in the Users Manual or Handbook published by the computer center at which the work will be performed. Where the rate has not been established, the rate shall be $27.00 per minute. Searches using computers other than mainframes shall be charged for at the manual search rate.

(1) Other rates are published and may be examined at the following places: Fort Collins Computer Center Users Manual Fort Collins Computer Center, U.S. De

partment of Agriculture, 3825 East Mulberry Street (P.O. Box 1206), Fort Collins,

Colo. 80521. National Finance Center, Cost, Productivity

& Analysis Section, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 13800 Old Gentilly Road,

New Orleans, La. 70129. Kansas City Computer Center Users Manual

Kansas City Computer Center, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 8930 Ward Parkway (P.O. Box 205), Kansas City, MO. 64141.

(a) Except for requests seeking records for a commercial use (as specified in section 5 of this appendix), no charge shall be made for either: (1) The first 100 pages of duplicated records (872" x 14" or smaller-size paper); or (2) The first two hours of manual search time, or the equivalent value of computer search time as defined in section 4(e) of this appendix.

(b) No charge shall be made-even to commercial use requesters if the cost of collecting a fee would be equal to or greater than the fee itself. For USDA, this figure has been calculated to be $25.00.

(c) Fees may not be charged for time spent by an agency employee in resolving legal or policy issues, or in monitoring a requester's inspection of agency records. No charge shall be made for normal postage costs.

(d) Records shall also be furnished without charge under the following conditions:

(1) When filling requests from other Departments or Government agencies for official use, provided quantities requested are reasonable in number;

(2) When members of the public provide their own copying equipment, in which case no copying fee will be charged (although

Washington Computer Center Users Hand

book: Washington Computer Center, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Room S-100, South Building, 12th Street and Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC

20250 St. Louis Computer Center, U.S. Department

of Agriculture, 1520 Market Street, St.

Louis, MO. 63103. (f) Charges for unsuccessful searches, or searches which fail to locate records or which locate records which are exempt from disclosure, shall be assessed at the same fee rate as searches which result in disclosure of records.

(g) The fee for providing review services shall be the hourly salary rate (1.e., basic pay plus 16 percent) of the employee conducting the review to determine whether any information is exempt from mandatory disclosure.

(b) The fee for Certifications shall be $5.00 each; Authentications under Department Seal (including aerial photographs), $10.00 each.

(1) All other costs incurred by USDA agencies will be assessed the requester at the actual cost to the Government.

(1) The fees specified in paragraphs (a) through (g) of this section apply to all requests for services under the FOLA, unless no fee is to be charged, or the agency has determined to waive or reduce those fees pursuant to section 6 of this appendix. No higher fees or charges in addition to those provided for in this appendix may be charged for services under the FOLA.

(k) The fees specified in paragraphs (h) and (1) of this section and in section 17 of this appendix apply to requests for services other than those subject to the FOIA. The authority for establishment of these fees is at 31 U.S.C. 9701 and other applicable laws.

(1) Except as provided in section 11 of this appendix, for services not subject to the FOLA, and not covered by paragraph (h) of this section, agencies may set their own fees in accordance with applicable law.

cover the cost of searching for and reviewing records for commercial use requesters even if there is ultimately no disclosure of records.

(1) A commercial use requester is defined as one who seeks information for a use or purpose that furthers the commercial, trade, or profit interests of the requester or the person on whose behalf the request is made.

(2) In determining whether a requester properly belongs in this category, agencies must determine whether the requester will put the records to a commercial use. Where an agency has reasonable cause to doubt the use to which a requester will put the records sought, or where that use is not clear from the request itself, the agency may seek additional clarification from the requester.

(b) Educational and non-commercial scientific institution requesters-Fees for this category of requesters shall be limited to the cost of providing duplication service alone, minus the charge for the first 100 reproduced pages. No charge shall be made for search or review services. To qualify for this category, requesters must show that the request is being made as authorized by and under the auspices of an eligible institution and that the records are not sought for a commercial use, but are sought in furtherance of scholarly research (if the request is from an educational institution) or scientific research (if the request is from a non-commercial scientific institution).

(1) The term educational institution refers to a preschool, a public or private elementary or secondary school, an institution of graduate higher education, an institution of undergraduate higher education, an institution of professional education, and an institution of vocational education, which operates a program or programs of scholarly research.

(2) The term non-commercial scientific institution refers to institution that is not operated on a "commercial" (see section 5(a)(1)) of this appendix basis, and which is operated solely for the purpose of conducting scientific research the results of which are not intended to promote any particular product or industry.

(c) Requesters who are representatives of the news media-Fees for this category of requesters shall also be limited to the cost of providing duplication service alone, minus the charge for the first 100 reproduced pages. No charge shall be made for providing search or review services. Requests in this category must not be made for a commercial use.

(1) The term representative of the news media refers to any person actively gathering news for an entity that is organized and operated to publish or broadcast news to the public.

(2) The term news means information that is about current events or that would be of current interest to the public.

(3) Examples of news media entities include television or radio stations broadcasting to the public at large, and publishers of

Section 5. Levels of fees for each category of

requesters.

Under the FOLA, there are four categories of FOLA requesters: Commercial use requesters, educational and non-commercial scientific institutions; representatives of the news media; and all other requesters. FOIA prescribes specific levels of fees for each category:

(a) Commercial use requesters-For commercial use requesters, agencies shall assess charges which recover the full direct costs of searching for, reviewing for release, and duplicating the records sought. Commercial use requesters are not entitled to the free search time or duplication referenced in section 3(a) of this appendix. Agencies may re

periodicals which disseminate news and who make their products available for purchase or subscription by the general public.

(4) Freelance journalists may be regarded as working for a news organization if they can demonstrate a solid basis for expecting publication through that organization, even though not actually employed by it.

(d) All other requesters-Fees for request ers who do not fit into the categories described in paragraphs (a), (b), or (c) of this section shall be assessed for the full reasonable direct cost of searching for and duplicating records that are responsive to a request. No charge, however, shall be made to requesters in this category for: (1) The first 100 duplicated pages; or (2) the first two hours of manual search time, or the equivalent value of computer search time as defined in section 4(e) of this appendix.

reduction has been requested, if the agency determines that disclosure will primarily benefit the general public.

(3) Agencies may also waive or reduce fees under the following conditions:

(1) Where the furnishings of records or a service without charge or at a reduced rate is an appropriate courtesy to a foreign country or international organization, or where comparable fees are set on a reciprocal basis with a foreign country or an international organization;

(11) Where the requester is engaged in a nonprofit activity designed for the public safety, health, or welfare; or

(iii) Where it is determined that payment of the full fee by a State or local government or nonprofit group would not be in the interest of the program involved.

(4) Fees shall be waived, however, without discretion in all circumstances where the amount of the fee is $25.00 or less.

Section 6. Fee waivers and reductions.

Section 7. Restrictions regarding copies.

(a) Agencies may restrict numbers of photocopies and directives furnished the public to one copy of each page. Copies of forms provided the public shall also be held to the minimum practical. Persons requiring any large quantities should be encouraged to take single copies to commercial sources for further appropriate reproduction.

(b) Single or multiple copies of transcripts, provided to the Department under a reporting service contract, may be obtained by the public from the contractor at a cost not to exceed the cost per page charged to the Department for extra copies. The contractor may add a postage charge when mailing orders to the public, but no other charge may be added.

Section 8. Payments of fees and charges.

(a) Agencies shall waive or reduce fees on request for records if disclosure of the information in the records is deemed to be in the public interest. A request is in the public interest if it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government, and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.

(1) In determining when fees shall be waived or reduced, agencies should consider the following six factors:

(1) The subject of the request, 1.e., whether the subject of the requested records concerns “the operations or activities of the government";

(11) The informative value of the information to be disclosed, i.e., whether the disclosure is "likely to contribute" to an understanding of government operations or activities;

(iii) The contribution to an understanding of the subject by the general public likely to result from disclosure, i.e., whether disclosure of the requested information will contribute to "public understanding'';

(iv) The significance of the contribution to public understanding, i.e., whether the disclosure is likely to contribute "significantly" to public understanding of government operations or activities;

(v) The existence and magnitude of a commercial interest, i.e., whether the requester has a commercial interest that would be furthered by the requested disclosure; and,

(vi) The primary interest in disclosure, i.e., whether the magnitude of the identified commercial interest of the requester is sufficiently large, in comparison with the public interest in disclosure, that disclosure is "primarily in the commercial interest of the requester."

(2) An agency may, in its discretion, waive or reduce fees associated with a request for disclosure, regardless of whether a waiver or

(a) Payments should be billed for to the fullest extent possible at the time the requested materials are furnished. Payments should be made by requesters within 30 days of the date of the billing.

(b) Payments shall be made by check, draft, or money order made payable to the Treasury of the United States, although payments may be made in cash, particularly where services are performed in response to a visit to a Department office. All payments should be sent to the address indicated by the agency responding to the request.

(c) Where the estimated fees to be charged exceed $250.00, agencies may require an advance payment of an amount up to the full estimated charges (but not less than 50 percent) from the requester before any of the requested materials are reproduced.

(d) In instances where a requester has previously failed to pay a fee, an agency may require the requester to pay the full amount

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