AP: Army Wants Nearly $300K To Disclose PFAS Contaminant Data at Military Bases

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For Immediate Release: 
Wednesday, March 20, 2019

WASHINGTON – The Army is seeking hundreds of thousands of dollars to fulfill a public records request from EWG seeking data on military sites where drinking water sources are contaminated with toxic fluorinated chemicals.

In a letter to EWG in response to a Freedom of Information Act request for information on how many current and former military installations have ground and surface water contaminated by PFAS chemicals, the Army denied the organization’s request to waive the fee for releasing the data. Although EWG asked for a waiver because the information is in the public interest, an Army attorney wrote:

It would take an estimated 6,400 man-hours and cost you (the requestor) an estimated $290,400.00 after the first free 100 pages provided by law to process your request.

“The Army owes it to service members and their families to quickly identify Army bases contaminated with PFAS pollution,” said Scott Faber, EWG’s senior vice president for government affairs. “It’s hard to know what’s more troubling – that the Army does not know or that it wants EWG to pay nearly $300,000 for the cost of finding out.”

The Army’s decision was reported today by The Associated Press. “Federal agencies typically waive fees for processing open-records requests for journalists, nonprofit advocacy or education groups or others seeking release of public records for the purposes of public education,” the AP said.

EWG filed an administrative appeal today of the Army’s fee request.


The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.