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Greenpeace v. Department of Homeland Security

ELR Citation: 48 ELR 20074
Nos. 17-479, (D.D.C., 05/01/2018) (Kelly, J.)

A district court held that that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) need not disclose information about certain chemical facilities per an environmental group's FOIA request. The group sought information regarding previously high-risk facilities that have reduced their chemical holdings. DHS produced two heavily redacted lists of facility names, withholding those that might serve to identify a particular facility. The group argued that FOIA and DHS' own procedures require DHS to produce the records without redactions, while DHS argued that the redacted information falls under FOIA's law-enforcement exemption because releasing it would increase the risks to human life and health from terrorist attacks. Here, DHS met its burden of showing that the information at issue, if released, could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of individuals. Even though the facilities are no longer designated "high risk," releasing identifying information about them could aid terrorists in identifying targets and thus increase the risk of deadly attacks.