Watchdog settles information suit

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By Roger Snodgrass

A three-year quest to see some 10-year plans came to a rest recently with a stipulated agreement.

Nuclear Watch New Mexico and the national nuclear weapons agency agreed to terms July 30, by which the National Nuclear Security Administration would make available future Ten Year Site Plans

“In the future, as 10-year site plans are accepted and approved by NNSA Headquarters in Washington, we will place them on the Internet,” Department of Energy media contact in Albuquerque confirmed in an e-mail this morning. “As the stipulated order says, that will begin with the Fiscal year 2009 plans.”

In a press release Wednesday, Nuclear Watch said they began filing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for these documents in December 2004, but did not get even a partial response until they filed a suit in March 2006.

In November 2007, U.S. District Court Judge Bruce Black ruled that, “ A bona fide request for production of documents under FOIA must be honored in a timely fashion or the purpose of the Act is vitiated. Information is often useful only if it is timely.”

He added, “Thus, excessive delay by the agency makes a mockery of the 20-day target set by the Act and violates congressional intent.”