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FIA-12-0028 - In the Matter of USA Today

The Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) issued a decision granting an appeal (Appeal) from a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) determination issued by the Office of Information Resources (OIR).  The appellant filed a FOIA request for records pertaining to a loan guarantee application filed by the United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC) for the American Centrifuge Project, and asked for expedited processing of the request.  OIR denied the request for expedited processing, and USA Today appealed.  In granting the Appeal, OHA cited court decisions finding sufficient urgency to grant expedited processing where there is a significant interest in quickly disseminating news regarding a subject currently under debate by Congress.  In the present case, given the pendency of legislation before Congress concerning funding of the American Centrifuge Project, OHA concluded that USA Today had demonstrated a sufficient “urgency to inform” the public regarding the actions of the government with respect to the project.  OHA therefore found that the DOE should grant USA Today’s request for expedited processing, and remanded the matter to OIR, to process as soon as practicable USA Today’s request for records.