Freedom of Information Act Program

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a federal law that gives you the right to access any Department of the Interior (DOI) records unless DOI reasonably foresees that the release of the information in those records would harm an interest protected by one or more of the nine exemptions (reasons an agency may withhold records from a requester) or release is prohibited by law. Our responsibility is to provide you with copies of the documents you are entitled to receive under the law.  We want to work with you to achieve that goal.

Open Gov The FOIA applies only to federal agencies. It does not apply to records held by Congress, the courts, or by state or local government agencies. Each state has its own public access laws that should be consulted for access to state and local records.

FOIA Policy and Guidance contains the text of the FOIA, DOI’s FOIA regulations, FOIA policies and procedures, and the Administration’s FOIA guidance.

Online Resources to Consult Before Filing a FOIA Request with DOI

Federal agencies are increasingly making their information available online to better serve the public. In your quest to locate certain information, you may want to consider using the following resources:

Data.gov was established to increase public access to high value, machine-readable datasets generated by federal agencies. To date, the DOI has submitted data on wetlands, mineral production, wildland fires, and water quality, to name a few. You can use the site’s search engine to peruse available data sets that may meet your needs or directly access DOI’s data sets.

The DOI FOIA Electronic Reading Room contains final opinions made in the adjudication of administrative cases, Departmental policies and procedures, frequently requested records, links to bureau/office electronic reading rooms, and administrative staff manuals and instructions.

Frequently Requested Documents contains links to the calendars and travel records of agency officials, DOI Chief FOIA Officer reports, DOI FOIA annual reports, information on DOI purchase card holders, IT portfolio directives and Exhibit 300s, and DOI request logs.

Making a FOIA Request

If the information you are seeking is not available online, you will need to submit a written FOIA request to the FOIA Contact at the bureau/office where you believe the records are maintained (see our FOIA Contacts page) or submit a request via our Electronic Request Form. You may also ask the FOIA Contacts what information you can obtain without submitting a FOIA request or where such information may be located. You may also contact the FOIA Requester Center and the FOIA Liaison for information regarding the status of your request.

Electronic FOIA Request Form is an online form for submitting a FOIA request for DOI documents.

Guide for Obtaining Information provides information on the procedures for making a FOIA request to DOI and any of its bureaus and offices.

DOI FOIA Contacts, Public Liaisons, and Websites provides a list of the FOIA contacts and public liaisons in the agency, as well as a list of bureau and office FOIA Web sites.

Customer Comment Form

If you have comments about the DOI FOIA Program or its website or would like to offer suggestions for improvement, you can submit them via our customer comment form at DOIFOIA@ios.doi.gov.

Before sending your comments,  please note the following:

  • Comments submitted in writing or via e-mail are not a valid FOIA request. 
  • If your comments are not related to the operation of this website or the mission of the DOI FOIA Office, we may not respond.

Due to the volume of comments, we cannot guarantee that all comments sent to us will receive a response.  If your comment is related to our website or the mission of the DOI FOIA Office and we are unable to respond to you directly, we may either read your comment and file it for future reference or refer your comment to another DOI bureau or office for consideration.

As an alternative to sending us an e-mail, you can write us at:

Department of the Interior
FOIA Policy Office (OCIO)
MS-7456 MIB
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20240

DOI FOIA Appeals Program

You May File an Appeal for Any of These Reasons Time Limit for Receipt of Appeal by the FOIA Appeals Officer*
Records or parts of records responsive to your request have been withheld. No later than 30 workdays from the date of the final response.
The bureau informs you that you have not adequately described the records you are seeking, or that it does not possess responsive records and you have reason to believe it does or you question the adequacy of the bureau’s search for responsive records.
The bureau did not address all aspects of your request for records.
You believe there is a procedural deficiency (e.g., fees are improperly calculated).
A decision has not been made on your request within the time limits provided in § 2.12 of DOI’s FOIA regulations. You may file an appeal any time after the time limit for responding to your request has passed.
A fee waiver has been denied. No later than 30 workdays from the date of the letter denying the fee waiver.
A request for expedited processing has been denied or not responded to on time.   You should file an appeal as soon as possible.

*Note: Appeals arriving or delivered after 5 p.m. E.T., Monday through Friday, will be deemed received on the next workday.

What to Include with Your Appeal

You must submit your appeal and accompanying materials to the FOIA Appeals Officer by mail, courier service, fax or email.  All communications concerning your appeal should be clearly marked with the words: “FREEDOM OF INFORMATION APPEAL.” Your appeal must be made in writing. You must include with your appeal copies of all correspondence between you and the bureau concerning your FOIA request, including your request and the bureau’s response (if there is one). Failure to include with your appeal all correspondence between you and the bureau will result in the Department’s rejection of your appeal, unless the FOIA Appeals Officer determines (in the FOIA Appeal Officer’s sole discretion) that good cause exists to accept the defective appeal.

You also should include, in as much detail as possible, any reason(s) why you believe the bureau’s response was in error. If you file an appeal concerning a fee waiver denial or a denial of expedited processing, you should demonstrate fully how the criteria in § 2.19(b) or § 2.14(a) of DOI’s FOIA regulations are met. You also should state in as much detail as possible why you believe the initial decision was incorrect.


DOI FOIA Appeals Office Contact Information

Department of the Interior
Office of the Solicitor
1849 C Street, N.W.
MS-6556 MIB
Washington, DC 20240

Attn: FOIA Appeals Office

Telephone: 202-208-5339
Fax: 202-208-6677
E-mail: FOIA.Appeals@sol.doi.gov

Please include your name and daytime telephone number (or the name and telephone number of an appropriate contact), e-mail address and fax number (if available) in case DOI needs additional information or clarification of your appeal.

For more information about the DOI FOIA Appeals Program, including how DOI will respond to your appeal, please refer to the Department’s FOIA regulations (§ 2.28  § 2.33).

Note: FOIA requests and appeals delivered via courier to the Main Interior Building will not be accepted after 4:30 p.m. EST due to the Department's security requirements.

Disclaimer: To the extent that anything included on this home page may be or could be construed as inconsistent with the law or DOI's regulations, the law and regulations will control DOI's responsibilities under the FOIA.

U.S. Department of the Interior
This is an Official Government Website
Freedom of Information Act
Last Updated on 01/07/11