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Media Bias? FOIA Requests to EPA Spiked After Trump Elected

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The number of public record requests to the Environmental Protection Agency from major media outlets exploded shortly after President Donald Trump was elected, The Free Beacon reported Wednesday.

The New York Times made only 13 Freedom of Information Act requests during former President Barack Obama’s second term, the report notes, citing an analysis of FOIA requests dating back to 2013. The data show that TheNYT quadrupled that number during the first year of Trump’s presidency, sending 59 FOIA requests to the EPA that year. The paper sent 100 over the course of Trump’s entire first term.

TheNYT was not the only outlet that saw their FOIAs spiked. Reporters at The Washington Post, meanwhile, sent only one FOIA request to the agency during Obama’s entire second term, and have sent more than 40 FOIA requests to the EPA since 2016, when Trump was elected. 

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Politico, which reported extensively on former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s ethical troubles, filed 15 requests during Obama’s second term and 198 since Trump took office. CNN’s numbers ballooned as well — the new channel that the president loves to hate sent 25 requests during Obama’s second term and 47 since.

Pruitt’s agency haggled with waves of EPA requests dating back to the previous administration. EPA FOIA officers had responded as of October 2017, to 70 percent of the 652 requests left open at the beginning of that year, according to an agency release. Some requests had been open since 2008.

EPA received 11,493 FOIA requests in fiscal year 2017, which is the most they’ve gotten since 2007 when outside groups filed 11,820 records requests. The agency got 995 more FOIAs in 2017 than in 2016.

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