FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION

OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

 

In the Matter of a Complaint by FINAL DECISION

 

Ethan Book and New England Energy Consultants,

 

Complainants

 

against Docket #FIC 87-96

 

State of Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection,

 

Respondent July 8, 1987

 

The above-captioned matter was heard as a contested case on May 14, 1987, at which time the complainants and the respondent appeared, stipulated to certain facts and presented testimony, exhibits and argument on the complaint.

 

After consideration of the entire record, the following facts are found:

 

1. The respondent is a public agency within the meaning of 1-18a(a), G.S.

 

2. By letter dated March 23, 1987, the complainants requested copies of records supporting a statement made by an employee of the respondent that large-scale mass-burn facilities offered environmental or financial advantages over medium-scale facilities.

 

3. Having received no reply from the respondent, by letter of complaint dated and filed with the Commission on March 31, 1987, the complainants alleged the respondent violated the Freedom of Information Act in its refusal to release copies of the records, more fully described in paragraph 2, above.

 

4. At the hearing, the complainants stated they had received copies of certain records subsequent to the filing of their complaint, but claimed such documents were not responsive to their request.

 

5. The respondent claims it provided the complainants with certain documents on April 29, 1987 and offered them an opportunity to inspect its files and to make copies of documents for them.

 

Docket #FIC 87-96 Page 2

 

6. It is found the documents sought, more fully described in paragraph 2, above, are public records within the meaning of 1-18a(d), G.S, and are subject to disclosure under 1-19(a), G.S.

 

7. It is found, however, that the complainants and the respondent differ as to what constitutes a large-scale mass-burn facility and this difference in opinion has been a source of confusion in the respondent's efforts to comply with the complainants' request.

 

8. It also is found that the respondent does not compile information concerning solid waste facilities on the basis of size of a facility.

 

9. It also is found that the respondent provided the complainants with certain documents on April 29, 1987 and offered the complainants an opportunity to review other records it had compiled for them, to inspect its files and to make copies of documents for them.

 

10. It further is found that the respondent failed to respond in writing to the complainants' request within four business days, in violation of 1-21i(a), G.S.

 

The following order by the Commission is hereby ordered on the basis of the record concerning the above-captioned complaint:

 

1. Henceforth, the respondent shall act in strict compliance with the requirements of 1-21i(a), G.S.

 

2. The respondent forthwith shall permit the complainants to inspect its files and shall make copies of documents at the complainants' request. The respondent may request prepayment for copies of records in accordance with 1-15, G.S.

 

3. Under the circumstances presented, the Commission commends the efforts of the respondent in its attempt to comply with the spirit of public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.

 

Approved by order of the Freedom of Information Commission at its regular meeting of July 8, 1987.

 

 

Catherine I. Hostetter

Acting Clerk of the Commission