Long-Delayed Public Records Request
DURHAM, N.C., June 5, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — After an almost nine-month wait, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) finally provided public records requested by Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League in September 2022. The records requested were regarding the agency’s efforts to communicate with the public on the health advisories issued in June 2022 for four PFAS—GenX, PFOA, PFOS, and PFBS. This is not the first time DEQ has taken an unreasonable amount of time to respond to public records requests. For example, BREDL finally received records in April of this year—after almost 11 months.
The Duke First Amendment Clinic submitted a “demand letter” to the DEQ on May 30th , 2023, and the records were provided on May 31. Therese Vick, who requested the documents on behalf of BREDL said: “We are very appreciative for the Duke First Amendment Clinic’s assistance with our public records request. Organizations like ours often don’t have resources to obtain legal assistance.” Vick continued, “BREDL works directly with impacted communities, and it is vital to be able to obtain public records in a reasonable amount of time. Almost nine months is not a reasonable amount of time. Access to public records is essential to a healthy democracy.”
The First Amendment Clinic “was delighted to help BREDL with its document requests,” said Clinic Director Sarah Ludington. “We recently hired a staff attorney whose priority is helping citizens and journalists with public records requests. We hope to help many others.”
About the Clinic: “The public mission of the First Amendment Clinic at Duke Law is to protect and advance the freedoms of speech, press, assembly, and petition. The clinic advises and represents individuals and groups with First Amendment concerns or claims who cannot afford the assistance of lawyers with specialized First Amendment expertise.” You can contact the Duke First Amendment Clinic at: [email protected]
CONTACT: Therese Vick (919) 345-3673 [email protected]
SOURCE Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League