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Natural Resources Defense Council v. Leavitt

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA


January 22, 2008

NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL LEAVITT, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Henry H. Kennedy, Jr. United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Plaintiff, the Natural Resource Defense Council ("NRDC"), brings this action for declaratory and injunctive relief pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA"), 5 U.S.C. § 552. NRDC alleges that defendants, Michael Leavitt, Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (in his official capacity only) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (collectively, "EPA"), have violated FOIA by failing to respond sufficiently to a request for documents concerning stockpiles of the pesticide methyl bromide.

In an opinion and order filed March 14, 2006, the court addressed the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment and resolved the issues presented by the motions [# 6 and 7]. The court also ordered EPA to submit three documents EPA uncovered when preparing its response to plaintiff's cross-motion, and which are the subject of EPA's supplemental motion for summary judgment [#11], for in camera review so that the court could assess whether EPA has properly invoked FOIA exemption 5. Pursuant to the court's order, EPA has submitted the three documents for the court's in camera review.

Having reviewed these three documents, the court concludes that they fall squarely within the deliberative process privilege embodied in FOIA exemption 5 and that there is no segregable information in the two documents withheld in their entirety. Thus, EPA's supplemental motion is granted.

An appropriate order accompanies this memorandum.

20080122

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