SCI Sues FWS for Failure to Comply with Freedom of Information Act Request Over Elephant Decision
SCI recently sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) over its failure to provide any documents in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. SCI submitted the FOIA request to obtain documents regarding the FWS’s July 2014 decision to continue to ban the importation of sport-hunted elephants from Zimbabwe. The FWS first banned these imports in April and then decided in July to continue that ban despite receiving detailed information from Zimbabwe and others about that country’s elephant management program. SCI has separately sued the FWS challenging both importation ban decisions. This FOIA request is critical to ensuring that SCI has access to all the documents the FWS considered in making its decisions to continue to ban imports from Zimbabwe.
The FOIA lawsuit concerns the second of two requests that SCI made for importation ban-related documents. SCI had previously submitted a FOIA request regarding the FWS’s April importation ban decision and received many revealing documents about the FWS’s decision-making. SCI has already been able to use some of those documents to SCI’s advantage in its elephant importation ban challenge lawsuit. SCI hopes to achieve similar results with its latest FOIA request.
SCI’s new FOIA lawsuit immediately prompted the FWS to provide some responsive documents. The FWS’s response was far from complete. SCI’s lawsuit will continue because the FWS continues to withhold a number of other documents.