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Friday, October 22, 2010

NFOIC, partners, urge Congress not to limit access to critical NTSB info

from NFOIC and OpenTheGovernment.org:
Dear Chairmen and Ranking Members,

On behalf of the undersigned organizations concerned with government openness and accountability, we are writing to urge you to not include in the final version of the National Transportation Safety Board Reauthorization (NTSB) Act of 2010 (HR 4714, S 2768) two provisions in Section 3(d) of the Senate- passed version of the bill, S. 2768, that unduly limit the public’s ability to access critical information.

The Senate-passed bill would needlessly expand categories of information that may be withheld under exemption b(3) of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for records related to ongoing Board investigations. There is no reason to offer the NTSB greater protection beyond the existing FOIA exemptions that provide protection for ongoing investigations, and represent a proper balancing of interests. Indeed, given the critical safety issues the NTSB investigates, the public’s interest should be paramount. We understand that NTSB has expressed concerns that fulfilling public requests for information takes time and resources. Expanding categories of information withhold-able under our oldest public disclosure law is not, however, an appropriate way to handle resource issues, and is not in the spirit of the law. House-passed version of the bill, HR 4714, contains no such expansion.
Read more here.

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