Expanding Public Access to Government Records
Midwest Environmental Advocates is committed to helping people who promote open and clean government, and we know that healthy government depends upon public access to government records. MEA requests records for our own uses and we help people get access to records to better understand how our laws are made and enforced. As a 501(c)(3) organization, when we submit requests we do not profit or hold a commercial interest in the requested records.
To best accomplish the goal of allowing our records requests to serve a public interest, this page records our recent open records requests that are made under state open records laws and the federal Freedom of Information Act.
In July of 2017, the Wisconsin Department of Justice announced that it would begin publishing requests for records online. Pending requests are available online.
Milwaukee Water Works - Lead Service Line Replacement
On May 24, 2018 Midwest Environmental Advocates sent an open records request to Milwaukee Water Works in order to find (i) the number of lead service lines that the City of Milwaukee has replaced in the past two years; (ii) whether any lead service line replacements in the past two years were complete or partial replacements; and (iii) the location of lead service line replacements completed in the past two years.
Transfer of CAFO WPDES Program Authority to Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection
In March 2018, MEA and Food & Water Watch (“FWW”) sent open records requests to DNR, Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (“DATCP”), and the Governor’s office for records relating to the potential transfer of any or all concentrated animal feeding operation (“CAFO”) Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“WPDES”) regulatory authority from the DNR to DATCP.
Background on the proposed transfer available at: http://midwestadvocates.org/news-events/news/keeping-the-focus-on-water-why-shifting-pollution-permits-from-dnr-to-datcp/.
- 6/25/2018 Requested Records sent by DNR - Download Records
- 6/25/2018 Response Letter from DNR
- 3/9/2018 Open Records Request by MEA & FWW to DNR
- 5/26/2009 Memorandum of Understanding between DNR and DATCP
- 5/10/2018 Requested Records sent by DATCP
- 5/10/2018 Response Letter from DATCP
- 3/9/2018 Open Records Request by MEA & FWW to DATCP
- 5/15/2018 Requested Records sent by the Governor's Office
- 5/15/2018 Response Letter from the Governor's Office
- 3/9/2018 Open Records Request by MEA & FWW to the Governor's Office
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and NR 738
Providing emergency drinking water for those who have private wells contaminated with manure-sourced bacteria
On February 20, 2017, Midwest Environmental Advocates sent an open records request to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources ("DNR") to review communications related to our law center’s request that the agency apply its authority under NR 738 to provide emergency drinking water to people with private wells contaminated with livestock manure. The request covers MEA’s contacts with the agency in December 2015 and again in July of 2016 asking the agency to use its authority.
- 2/20/2017 Open records request by MEA to DNR
- 2/20/2017 Request attachement, email discussion 2015-16
- November 2016 letter from the EPA to MEA on actions the federal agency is taking in response to the Kewaunee groundwater workgroups (prompted by the 2014 Safe Drinking Water Act petition to the EPA) and working with the DNR on provisions in NR 738
- Midwest Environmental Advocates’ December 2015 legal analysis of why NR 738 should apply to people with manure-contaminated well water
Air Emission Investigation
Milwaukee & EPA Lead Service Line Communications
On May 30, 2018 Midwest Environmental Advocates sent a public records request to the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) Region 5 Office for communications between the City of Milwaukee, WI and/or Milwaukee Water Works and the EPA regarding lead services lines or lead levels in drinking water. The timeframe of these communications that MEA requested was from January 1, 2010 through the fulfilment of the request on September 27, 2018.
Meteor Timber information requests
On July 25, 2017, Midwest Environmental Advocates sent an public records request to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for communications between USACE and Meteor Timber, LLC, dating from May 23, 2017, to the date of the fulfillment of the request on August 15, 2017. The request also asks for communications with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service dating back to December 1, 2016, including discussions of the agency’s Biological Opinion and any biological assessment regarding Meteor Timber’s wetlands fill plan.