At 51, FOIA is still relevant, maybe more than ever – Baltimore Sun

Next week, the Freedom of Information Act will be 51 years old. July 4th marks the birthday of the law that, for the first time in U.S. history, gave all persons a sweeping right to obtain government records. FOIA may be middle aged, but it is still very relevant. In fact, the advent of the Trump administration gives the law new immediacy. It can be used to open government records (potentially even memoranda to and from the White House) thus assisting citizens in understanding and acting on their lawfulness and policy implications.

This is important because President Donald Trump has, in the first five months of his administration, pushed the limits of executive power. He has used unilateral actions or executive orders to override national laws and policy in areas including immigration limitations, environmental protection and the enactment of updated consumer and worker safety rules.

For example, Mr. Trump’s environmental protection administrator issued an order canceling the Obama administration’s regulation designed to reduce water pollution from coal-fired power plants. The head of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration delayed a long-pending rule limiting worker exposure to beryllium and silica, two toxic air pollutants.

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