14 April 2016

NRCS Avoids Public Disclosure of Project Documentation

The Nebraska office of the Natural Resources Conservation Service has indicated it will not provide information associated with a wetlands project along Gordon creek in central Cherry county, Nebraska.

Despite Freedom of Information Act request 2016-NRCS-02453-F made to the NRCS office in Lincoln, no details were provided. A letter indicated that no documents would be provided due to “Exemption 3” of the FOIA act which prohibits - through federal statute 7 U.S.C. 8791, Section 1619 (b) of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-246) – “prohibits disclosure of information of information regarding another person’s agricultural operations, farming, conservation practices, or the land itself.”

This is despite the expenditure of public funds associated with the agency work designing the project and associated consultation.

What is quite revealing is that despite the response of this agency, is that the very details requested are publicly available elsewhere. The NRCS obviously has a nondisclosure policy.

It took multiple requests via email to even get this NRCS indicated “adverse” decision. The initial request was made January 22nd, 2016 and the letter of response was received on April 7th.