Oceana sues NOAA over document fees

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The environmental group Oceana has filed a federal lawsuit against the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, accusing the agency of violating the Freedom of Information Act by charging exorbitant fees to fulfill document requests.

"The [National Marine] Fisheries Service told Oceana that it would only provide the unclassified, non-commercial documents to which Oceana is entitled if Oceana paid $16,338.60 in advance," according to the suit, filed earlier this month in federal district court in Washington, D.C.

Oceana, based in Washington, D.C., contends that it is entitled to a waiver on the grounds that it qualifies as a media company because it publishes government information to inform the public about environmental issues, SouthCoastToday.com reported.

Oceana, which filed an earlier lawsuit in May accusing fisheries regulators of being too lax, was asking NOAA for the documents used to establish agency policy on sea turtles.

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