Tulsa District Header Image

TULSA DISTRICT

Home
Home > Business With Us > FOIA

Contact

CESWT-OC
1645 South 101st East Ave
Tulsa, OK 74128-4609

Phone: 918-669-7178
Fax: 918-669-7576

E-mail: foia-swt@usace.army.mil

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

FOIA is a federal law that establishes the public's right to request existing records from Federal Government agencies. Requests are only for agency "records." The agency is not required to create documents in response to a request.

FOIA requests applicable to the Tulsa District should be made in writing.

No special form is required for a FOIA request, however, certain information must be included. Please see the sample letter for more information on what to include. Electronic requests are permitted unless a signature is required, such as a request for records subject to the Privacy Act. Electronic requests should include the notation "Freedom of Information Act Request" in the subject.

Requests must state a willingness to pay the applicable fees and must describe the documents requested in sufficient detail to allow the FOIA Office to locate them with a reasonable amount of effort. In making a request you should be as specific as possible with regard to names, titles, dates, places, events, subjects, recipients, type of document, the offices likely to maintain the documents, etc.

A FOIA request can be made for any agency document. This does not mean, however, that all documents will be disclosed. There are statutory exemptions that authorize the withholding of information of a sensitive nature. Additionally, you should be aware that the FOIA does not require FOIA Offices to do research for you, to analyze data, to answer written questions, or to create records in order to respond to a request.

When a FOIA Office receives your FOIA request, it will ordinarily send you a letter acknowledging the request. If you do not provide the necessary information, the Office will advise you of what additional information is required before further processing your request.

In order to protect your privacy as well as the privacy of others, whenever you request information about yourself you will be asked to provide either a notarized statement or a statement signed under penalty of perjury stating that you are the person that you say you are.

Frequently Asked Questions

Collapse All Expand All
Requests should be submitted to the FOIA Officer at the Tulsa District.

Requests must be in writing, and should include the notation "Freedom of Information Act Request" on the front of the envelope and also at the beginning of the letter or in the subject line if submitted through e-mail. No special form is required for a FOIA request, but a Sample request is provided here. Electronic requests are permitted unless a signature is required, such as a request for records subject to the Privacy Act. Electronic requests should include the notation "Freedom of Information Act Request" in the subject.

Requests must state a willingness to pay the applicable fees and must describe the documents requested in sufficient detail to allow the FOIA Office to locate them with a reasonable amount of effort. In making a request you should be as specific as possible with regard to names, titles, dates, places, events, subjects, recipients, type of document, the offices likely to maintain the documents, etc.

A FOIA request can be made for any agency document. This does not mean, however, that all documents will be disclosed. There are statutory exemptions that authorize the withholding of information of a sensitive nature. Additionally, you should be aware that the FOIA does not require FOIA Offices to do research for you, to analyze data, to answer written questions, or to create records in order to respond to a request.

When a FOIA Office receives your FOIA request, it will ordinarily send you a letter acknowledging the request. If you do not provide the necessary information, the Office will advise you of what additional information is required before further processing your request.
Under the FOIA statute, Corps of Engineer FOIA Offices are to respond to a FOIA request within twenty business days. This time period does not begin until the request is perfected, as discussed in the DoD and Army FOIA Regulations. Additionally, subject to the new time limits in the OPEN Government Act of 2007, the time period will not begin until actually received by the FOIA Office that maintains the documents sought.

Some FOIA Offices receive hundreds of requests each year. Many of these requests require a detailed review of hundreds or even thousands of pages of documents. Although the Corps of Engineers makes every effort to respond to FOIA requests as quickly as possible, in some cases it simply cannot do so within the specified time period. This may be due either to the size of the request, the location of the documents or to the fact that the Office has a backlog of previously received requests that are awaiting processing.
FOIA requesters who have questions about, or want to check the status of, their FOIA request, should contact the Tulsa District FOIA officer. 

The FOIA allows fees to be charged to certain types of requesters, but it also provides that waivers or reductions in fees be given if disclosing the information is in the public interest. Public interest is defined as information, which significantly enhances the public's knowledge of the operations and activities of the Army.

The FOIA requires that requesters be placed into categoriesOne of the most common categories is the one listed below: "Other" Requester. Requesters who do not qualify in another category are considered "other" requesters, and normally make requests for agency records for their personal use. "Other" requesters receive two hours search, all review costs, and the first 100 pages at no cost. A requirement under the Act is that all requesters must include a 'willingness to pay statement' in their request, however, fees are not charged unless they exceed $25. Also, the requester can set a limit on the costs to be incurred. For example, he/she may state "not to exceed $50." If the estimate for answering the request exceeds the limit, the FOIA Officer will call the requester to discuss his/her options. The requester has four options: accept the copied documents up to the previous specified amount of money, cancel the entire request, authorize the money needed to complete the request, or authorize additional funds up to another specified amount. Fee waivers may be granted when disclosure of the records is in the public interest because it is likely to ontribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government. The following factors are weighed in making a fee waiver determination.  For more information on fees, visit the fee page here.

  • The subject of the request.
  • The informative value of the information to be disclosed.
  • The contribution to an understanding of the subject by the general public likely to result from the disclosure. 
  •  The significance of the contribution to public understanding. 
  •  Disclosure of the information is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.

Related Links 

You may file an appeal if you are not satisfied with a FOIA Office's initial response. You should be advised of your right to file an appeal in the initial denial/determination letter sent by the FOIA Office. Ordinarily, your appeal must be received within 60 days of the date of the component's determination letter. All appeals must be made in writing and addressed to the local FOIA Office. That Office will prepare an appeal package to send through the FOIA Program Office to the Army General Counsel. Both the front of the envelope and the appeal letter should contain the notation "Freedom of Information Act Appeal." There is no specific form or particular language needed to file an appeal.

You may explain the reason or reasons why you disagree with the component's action, but a simple statement that you are appealing the decision is normally sufficient. If, however, you are appealing because you believe there are additional records that have not been located in response to your request, you should specify why you think such records exist and, if possible, where you believe they might be located.