CPANP Letterhead

February 5, 2021

Charis Wilson, FOIA Officer, P.O. Box 25287
12795 W. Alameda Parkway
Denver, CO 80225

Subject:  Freedom of Information Act Request

Dear Ms. Wilson:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Improvement Act of 2016 (Public Law No. 114-185) submitted on behalf of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks. This request relates to the number of cases of COVID-19 that has occurred among National Park Service (NPS) employees during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.

BACKGROUND FOR THIS REQUEST

On April 20, 2020, we submitted a FOIA request to NPS asking for the number of COVID-19 cases to date among Park Service employees. This request was assigned tracking number NPS-2020-00754. To date, NPS has provided no information or records responsive to this request.

On June 1, 2020, we submitted another FOIA request to NPS asking for the number of COVID-19 cases to date among Park Service employees. This request was consolidated with our previous FOIA under tracking number NPS-2020-00754. To date, NPS has provided no information or records responsive to this request.

On July 1, 2020, we submitted another FOIA request to NPS asking for the number of COVID-19 cases to date among Park Service employees. To date, NPS has provided no information or records responsive to this request.

On August 4, 2020, we submitted another FOIA request to NPS asking for the number of COVID-19 cases to date among Park Service employees. To date, NPS has provided no information or records responsive to this request.

On September 1, 2020, we submitted another FOIA request to NPS asking for the number of COVID-19 cases to date among Park Service employees. To date, NPS has provided no information or records responsive to this request.

On October 20, 2020, we submitted another FOIA request to NPS asking for the number of COVID-19 cases to date among Park Service employees. To date, NPS has provided no information or records responsive to this request.

On December 2, 2020, we submitted another FOIA request to NPS asking for the number of COVID-19 cases to date among Park Service employees. To date, NPS has provided no information or records responsive to this request.

On January 19, 2021, we submitted another FOIA request to NPS asking for the number of COVID-19 cases to date among Park Service employees. To date, NPS has provided no information or records responsive to this request.

Because the NPS has been unresponsive to all of our previous requests for basic information regarding the number of NPS employees diagnosed with COVID-19, we are submitting this new request today (February 5, 2021) in addition to, not in place of, the previous requests consolidated under NPS-2020-00754.

Note:  We will continue to submit new FOIA requests for similar information on a monthly basis until NPS provides information or records responsive to these requests.

PROCESSING FEES

We believe that no processing fees are required for this request due to its simplicity.

DESCRIPTION

I request the following information under the Freedom of Information Act:

1)  The cumulative numbers of NPS employees with confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of January 31, 2021.

2)  A simple list of the parks where those cases occurred as of January 31, 2021.

3)  In the event that the information is not available specifically as requested, we request similar information in whatever format is available (e.g., weekly or monthly summary of the number of NPS employee COVID-19 cases).

REQUEST EXPEDITED PROCESSING

We do not request expedited processing.

REQUEST A FEE WAIVER 

We do not request a fee waiver, as we believe that no processing fees are necessary due to the simplicity of this request.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

You should know that I am the Chair of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks (Coalition). The Coalition is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to study, educate, speak, and act for the preservation and protection of the National Park System and mission-related programs of the National Park Service. I have no commercial interest in this request. We are seeking the above information to better understand the extent of spread of COVID-19 among NPS employees during the global pandemic. Disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the manner in which the National Park Service has been administering units of the National Park System during the pandemic. The ongoing lack of NPS transparency regarding the incidence of COVID-19 in parks and among NPS employees is deeply troubling to our membership. Having such information will enable the Coalition to more effectively communicate and advocate for the protection of the health and safety of NPS employees as millions of people continue to visit the National Park System while the pandemic is ongoing.

In closing, given the limited scope and nature of this request, we would appreciate a timely response. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Phil Francis Signature

 

 

Philip A. Francis, Jr., Chair
Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks

Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks
2 Massachusetts Ave NE
Unit 77436
Washington, DC 20013

 

cc: Shannon Estenoz, Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, USDOI
Shawn Benge, Acting Director, National Park Service
Louis Rowe, Deputy Associate Director, Vis. and Res. Protection, National Park Service
Charis Wilson, FOIA Officer, National Park Service