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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
Home Page

The NOAA FOIA Staff welcomes you to the NOAA FOIA Home Page. We hope you will find this site informative and that it will give you a better understanding of NOAA's public information programs. We will continue to improve this site to bring you current program information.


Marie Marks, Team Leader, NOAA FOIA Staff
(E-mail address -
Telephone number: (301) 713-3540, extension 211

Jean Carter-Johnson, NOAA FOIA Officer
(E-mail address -
Telephone number: (301) 713-3540 , extension 209

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The original Freedom of Information Act (5 USC 552) allowed the public to obtain government information, as long as the information is not protected by one of the nine specific FOIA exemptions, in the public domain, or on an established NOAA price list/available for sale. The FOIA allowed 10 business days, excluding weekends and holidays, to respond to the public.

The Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 1996 amended the law to include the following changes:

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Guide for Submitting FOIA Requests

Before submitting FOIA requests, individuals should ensure that the information they seek is not already in the public domain. Offices maintaining information in the public domain are listed in NOAA's Electronic Reading Room. If the information is not in the public domain, please follow the suggestions listed below:

  1. Mail.Mark the outside of the envelope, "Freedom of Information Request" and mail to the following address:

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

    Public Reference Facility (OFA56)

    1315 East West Highway (SSMC3)

    Room 10730

    Silver Spring, Maryland 20910

  2. Fax. Fax all requests to the FOIA Staff at (301) 713-1169

  3. E-mail You may email your FOIA request to the following email address:

Individuals with questions concerning their requests may call the FOIA Staff at (301) 713-3540.

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Guide for Submitting FOIA Appeals

You have the right to appeal this [denial or partial denial] of the FOIA request.  Your appeal must be received within 30 calendar days of the date of initial denial letter by the Assistant General Counsel for Administration.  Address your appeal to the following office:

                                                                                               Assistant General Counsel for Administration (Office)
                                                                            Room 5898-C
                                                                            U.S. Department of Commerce
                                                                            14th and Constitution Avenue, N.W.
                                                                            Washington, D.C. 20230.

Your appeal may also be sent by e-mail to or by facsimile (fax) to Area Code (202) 482-2552.

The appeal must include:

The submission (including e-mail and fax submissions) is not complete without the required attachments. 

The appeal letter, the envelope, the e-mail subject line, and the fax cover sheet should be clearly marked "Freedom of Information Act Appeal."

The e-mail, fax machine, and Office of the General Counsel are monitored only on working days during the normal business hours (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday). FOIA appeals posted to the e-mail box, fax machine, or Office of the General Counsel after normal business hours will be deemed received on the next normal business day.

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Location of Electronic Reading Room

NOAA's Electronic Reading Room and NOAA Public Reference Facility is the central reference and records inspection facility for NOAA. It is located at 1315 East West Highway (SSMC3), Room 10730, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910. The facility is open to the public Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., except Federal holidays. Equipment for making copies is available for public use and the room is disabled accessible.

Requesters shall contact the NOAA FOIA Staff, (301) 713-3540, to schedule visits or to verify that specific documents are maintained in the reading room.  All reading room records created by NOAA on or after November 1, 1996, will be made available electronically at the site. The public is encouraged to access information electronically. They may also submit requests to NOAA under the Freedom of Information Act.

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Description of Publicly Available Information

The NOAA's Office of Public and Constitutent Affairs is NOAA's focal point for information in the public domain. The office maintains a broad range of NOAA publications, press releases, reports, and other pertinent information. The office address, contact person, and an index of frequently requested publications can be accessed from this link.

NOAA's mission statement, strategic plan, organizational structure, Line and Program Offices, and a wealth of scientific and administrative information can be accessed from the NOAA HomePage, NOAA Organizational Directory, and the NOAA Staff Directory.

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Other Public Information Servers

Records that are "promptly published and offered for sale" are not subject to the requirements of FOIA, 5 U.S.C. 552(a) (2). These published materials are not required to be placed in agency conventional/electronic reading rooms.

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Major Information Systems

NOAA's major information and record locator systems are identified under the Government Interactive Locator System (GILS) and the DOC GILS.

NOAA Management Information Home Page provides access to administrative information system within NOAA.

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Policies and Administrative Manuals that Affect the Public


Department of Justice



The Office of the Inspector General, Department of Commerce, has the responsibility for final opinions. (OIG Final Opinions)


All notices, proposed rules, and final rules are published in the Federal Register. The Federal Register ensures agency records are available to the public.

Frequently Requested Records

This section includes subjects on which NOAA receives multiple FOIA requests.

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