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Basic Information


The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a law established in 1966 that gives the public the right to make a request for federal agency records. All agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), are required to disclose records unless the records are protected from disclosure by any of the nine exemptions in the Act or by one of three special law enforcement record exclusions. EPA's FOIA regulations are located in the Code of Federal Regulations at Title 40. Part 2.

The FOIA applies only to federal agencies and does not provide a right to records held by Congress, the courts or to records held by state or local government agencies. States and local government agencies may have their own laws governing access to their records. You will need to contact them directly to request access to their records.

The FOIA does not require agencies to conduct research, analyze data, answer written questions, or create records in order to respond to a request.

EPA has a National FOIA Office located at its headquarters in Washington, D.C. and ten Regional FOIA offices in major metropolitan areas across the country. If you seek a record that may be in possession of EPA dealing with hazardous waste contamination on a specific site, you would address your request to the EPA Regional FOIA office that covers the state in which the site is located. If you are planning to submit a FOIA request to the Agency, consult our reference guide. You may also be able to find the information you need on an EPA Web site without making a FOIA request. Before making a FOIA request you should browse EPA's home page for information that is already available to the public.

How to make a Freedom of Information Act Request



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