US Army Corps of Engineers
St. Louis District

District Departments & Offices

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Contact Office of Counsel

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
St. Louis District
Office of Counsel

1222 Spruce St,
St. Louis, MO 63101-2833

Phone: 314-331-8193
Fax: 314-331-8802
foia-mvs@usace.army.mil  

Office of Counsel

The Office of Counsel serves as the legal advisor to the commander of the St. Louis District and his staff. Also serves as the St. Louis District's ethics counselor, claims officer and Freedom of Information Act Officer.

Freedom of Information Act

The FOIA is a federal law that establishes the public's right to request existing records from Federal Government agencies. The purpose of this website is to provide guidance on how to make a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for records from the St. Louis District of the Army Corps of Engineers (District). It will provide you with a brief description of your rights and the manner in which the District will respond to your requests.
No special form is required to submit a FOIA request. However, the request should be labeled as a "Freedom of Information Act Request," and must include the following information:

1. Name and Business name (if applicable)
2. Address
3. Telephone number
4. Fax number (if applicable)
5. A reasonable description of the records requested, including date parameters, if applicable
6. State a willingness to pay any search and review fees
7. If you are requesting a fee waiver, you must state your basis for the waiver

FOIA requests can be submitted by mail, fax, or email.

To mail a FOIA request, send the request to the following address:
US Army Corps of Engineers, St. Louis District
1222 Spruce Street
ATTN: CEMVS-OC
St. Louis, Missouri 63103-2833

To fax a FOIA request, include a fax coversheet stating, "Attention: FOIA Coordinator” to:
(314) 331-8802

To send a FOIA request by electronic mail, address the request to:
foia-mvs@usace.army.mil

Upon receipt of your request, the District will reply with a letter providing a tracking number so that you will be able to check on the status of your request. Whenever possible, an initial determination to release or deny a record will be made within 20 working days after receipt of the request by the official who is designated to respond. Because of the significant number of requests received, in fairness to all requesters, the St. Louis District processes requests in the order of their receipt and according to their complexity. If unusual circumstances exist that preclude a timely response, you will be informed of the estimated completion date and reason(s) for delay.

Possible unusual circumstances include:

• The need to search for and collect the requested records from other facilities that are separate from the office determined responsible for a release or denial decision on the requested information
• The need to search for, collect, and examine a voluminous amount of separate and distinct records which are requested in a single request
• The need for consultation, which shall be conducted with all practicable speed, with other agencies having a substantial interest in the determination of the request, or among two or more DOD Components having a substantial subject-matter interest in the request.
To receive expedited processing, the requester must demonstrate one of the following compelling needs:

• Failure to obtain the records on an expedited basis could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual
• Information is urgently needed by an individual primarily engaged in disseminating information in order to inform the public concerning actual or alleged Federal
• Government activity;
• An imminent loss of substantial due process rights
The FOIA allows the public to request “agency records”. Agency records are documents that are created or obtained by an agency and under the agency control at the time the FOIA request is made. Agency records can be in the form of hard-copy files, computerized records, databases, email maps, books, or photographs. However, the FOIA does not require federal agencies to answer questions, render opinions, or provide subjective evaluations in response to a FOIA request.
After the responsive documents have been identified and compiled, they must undergo legal review before being released to ensure that no private or sensitive information is being released. All private or sensitive information will be withheld or redacted before the documents are released. If you believe that information has improperly been withheld, you will have the opportunity to appeal the District’s administrative determination.

The FOIA allows fees to be charged for FOIA services, such as search and review time, duplication costs, and special services, like document certification. Whether fees are charged depends on the category of requester you are. If fees are to be charged, waivers or reductions in fees may be given under certain circumstances.

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 $15.00, the Corps of Engineers will not charge any fee at all.

Fee schedule (as of 5/9/02)

Duplication charges:

  • Paper reproduction - 15 cents per page
  • Computer tapes and print-outs - direct costs and labor costs

Search charges:

  • $20.00 per hour for clerical staff
  • $44.00 per hour for professional staff
  • $75.00 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 executive staff
Fee waivers may be granted when disclosure of the records is in the public interest. Information released in the public interest is defined as information that significantly enhances the public's knowledge of the operations and activities of the agency. The following factors are weighed in making a fee waiver determination:

• The subject of the request
• The informative value of the information to be disclosed
• The contribution to an understanding of the subject by the general public likely to result from the disclosure
• The significance of the contribution to public understanding
• Disclosure of the information is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester
• The ability of the requester to disseminate the information.
All requesters must include a "willingness to pay fees” statement in their request, regardless of the fee category. The requester can set a limit on the costs to be incurred.
There are five categories of requesters:

1. Commercial. Requesters who seek information for a use or purpose that furthers their commercial, trade, or profit interest are considered commercial requesters. Commercial requesters pay all fees for search, review, and duplication.

2. Educational. Institutions of education, including preschools, elementary or secondary schools and institutions of higher learning, qualify as educational institutions. The records must be sought in furtherance of scholarly research. Educational requesters pay only duplication fees, unless it is determined that fees are waived or reduced in the public interest.

3. Non-Commercial Scientific. A non-commercial scientific institution is operated solely for conducting scientific research. The records must be sought in furtherance of scientific research. Like educational requesters, these requesters pay only duplication fees, unless it is determined that fees are waived or reduced in the public interest.

4. News Media. A representative of the news media is a person actively gathering news for an entity organized and operated to publicize or broadcast news to the public. News media pay only duplication fees, unless it is determined that fees are waived or reduced in the public interest.

5. "Other" Requester. Requesters who do not qualify in another category are considered "other" requesters, and normally make requests for agency records for their personal use.