If you have a specific question about fees, please contact the Buffalo District FOIA Office at: 1-800-833-6390 (option 5)
There is no initial fee to make a FOIA request, and in many cases no fees are charged. However, we are authorized by law to recover the direct costs of providing information to a FOIA requester. For purposes of fees only, the FOIA divides requesters into three categories:
- commercial use requesters,
- news media, educational, or scientific requesters; and
- all other requesters.
Commercial use requesters are charged for search time, document review, and duplication. News media, educational, and scientific requesters are charged for duplication only, after the first 100 pages. All other requesters are charged for search time (after two hours) and duplication (after 100 pages). In all cases, if the total fee does not exceed $25.00, the Corps of Engineers will not charge any fee at all.
In your request letter you may make a specific statement limiting the amount of fees you are willing to pay. If you do not, the Corps of Engineers will assume that you are willing to pay all appropriate fees of up to $250.00. If your estimated fees exceed $250.00, you will be given the opportunity to narrow your request in order to reduce the fees or you will be asked to express your commitment to pay the estimated amount. Ordinarily, for fees under $250.00 you will not be required to actually pay the fees until the records have been located and are ready to be sent to you.
Fee schedule (as of 08/2019):
- duplication charges:
- paper reproduction – 15 cents per page
- computer tapes and print-outs – direct costs and labor costs
- search charges:
- $24.00 per hour for clerical staff
- $48.00 per hour for professional staff
- $110.00 per hour for executive staff
- review charges:
- $20.00 per hour for clerical staff
- $44.00 per hour for professional staff
- $75.00 per hour for managerial staff
If you expect or are advised that a fee will be charged, you may request a fee waiver of those fees. However, fee waivers are limited to situations in which a requester can show that disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations and activities of the government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester. For a more complete explanation of fee and fee waiver matters, go to the Department of Defense FOIA Regulations
and scroll down to the "Fees" subheading.