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Conservation Found. v. Department of the Interior

Citation: 2 ELR 20356
No. No. 718-72, (D.D.C., 06/21/1972)

After in camera inspection, the district court orders Interior, pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), to produce certain portions of the $6.8 million National Outdoor Recreation Plan which had been scheduled for release in 1968. Interior argues (i) that FOIA exemption (5) for "inter-agency memoranda" protests the Plan from disclosure and, (ii) that the Conservation Foundation has not exhausted its administrative remedies. The court rejects both arguments. Conservation Foundation's unanswered written demands for the Plan evince adequate exhaustion. Because FOIA provides for trial de novo in the district court, it is not necessary to give the usual degree of deference to administrative determinations. Concerning exemption (5) for "inter-agency memoranda," the court holds that "purely factual" information which is not "inextricably intertwined with policy making processes" is not shielded from disclosure.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Gladys Kessler
1712 N Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20036

Counsel for Defendants
Harlod H. Titus, Jr. U.S. Attorney
Joseph M. Hannon Asst. U.S. Attorney
Arnold Aikens Asst. U.S. Attorney
Justice Department
Washington, D.C. 20530