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DOE Proposes New Rules to Protect Trade Secrets and Confidential Business Information

March 8, 2011 - 5:26pm

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The Department of Energy today proposed to revise its rules to standardize how private parties applying for DOE assistance should submit trade secrets and other confidential business information.  Currently, different DOE programs have different rules for how to submit such information.  The confusion caused has made it difficult for the Department to respond promptly to Freedom of Information Act requests while meeting its obligations to protect confidential information.  The proposed rules, modeled on procedures used by the Department’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing  program, establish a standard practice asking applicants to mark in advance the information they believe to be confidential.  According to General Counsel Scott Blake Harris, “The proposed new rules will give applicants greater assurance that their confidential information will be protected from inadvertent disclosure, while at the same time allowing the Department to respond more promptly to Freedom of Information Act requests.”   The notice is available here and provides for a 30 day public comment period.

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