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New York State Freedom of Information Law (FOIL)

Request NYS DEC Records

Overview

The Freedom of Information Law ("FOIL"), Article 6 (Sections 84-90) of the NYS Public Officers Law, provides the public the right to access records maintained by government agencies, with certain exceptions.

"Record" means any information kept, held, filed, produced or reproduced by, with, or for this agency, in any physical form whatsoever including, but not limited to, reports, statements, examinations, memoranda, opinions, folders, files, books, manuals, pamphlets, forms, papers, designs, drawings, maps, photos, letters, microfilms, computer tapes or disks, rules, regulations or codes.

Learn more about records access and Open FOIL NY.

Records Available Online

Many of the DEC's records are available online and can be obtained by searching DEC's website and online databases without submitting a formal request. Conducting a search may satisfy your needs or give you information that will help to refine your FOIL request. The most popular searches are listed below.

DECinfo Locator

DECinfo Locator is an interactive map that lets you search for a location and access many DEC documents and other public data about the environmental quality of specific sites in New York State, as well as information about sites for outdoor recreation. It contains more than 50 data layers; see our layer description web page to see what is available and how often it is updated.

Open NY

DEC provides many datasets, maps, and other types of documentation available online through New York State's Open NY Data website (leaves DEC website).

Information about Spill Incidents, Remedial Sites, and Bulk Storage

DEC's Environmental Site Database Search can provide information on:

  • Oil and chemical spills
  • Sites being addressed under DEC's Superfund, Brownfield Cleanup, Environmental Restoration and Voluntary Cleanup programs
  • Petroleum and chemical bulk storage or major oil storage facilities
  • Resource Conservation and Recovery Act Subpart-C Corrective Action Program records

Information on Hazardous Waste Management Facilities

DEC uses EPA identification numbers to locate records on hazardous waste management facilities. To find the EPA ID number, visit the EPA Envirofacts website (leaves DEC website) and enter an address to determine if it is associated with a hazardous waste management facility.

Information about facilities with EPA ID numbers can be found at EPA's Enforcement & Compliance History Online (ECHO) website (leaves DEC website).

When making a FOIL request for information maintained by the NYSDEC on these facilities, please provide the EPA ID number.

Additional DEC Databases

Quick Links to Popular Database-driven Applications

Request Records

SUBMIT A FOIL REQUEST VIA DEC'S ONLINE SYSTEM

DEC's online FOIL Request System will allow you to submit, edit, and track your pending requests. You can quickly and easily create a customer account or log in to your existing customer account.

Or, you may request records by using the Open FOIL NY online form, or by submitting a completed Application for Access to Records (PDF) by mail or e-mail to:

Mail a written request to:
Records Access Officer
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
625 Broadway
Albany, New York 12233-1500

E-mail a written request to:
access.records@dec.ny.gov

Use the Open FOIL NY online form


Submit a request for records in person:

You can submit a written request for records in person, by appointment, on business days between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, at the DEC Central Office, 625 Broadway, Albany NY. You may schedule an appointment to bring in the written request for records by calling (518) 402-9522. Please be advised records require review prior to disclosure. As a result, documents and records will not be immediately available.

FOIL Process

Within five business days of receiving your written request, and as long as your request reasonably describes a record, we will either make the record available to you, deny your request in writing, or send you a written acknowledgment that we received your request. If you have not received a written acknowledgment within five business days, please contact us at (518) 402-9522 or access.records@dec.ny.gov.

Our written acknowledgment will provide you with a reasonable estimate of when the records you requested will be available, under the circumstances of the request. This date is determined by the number of documents you request, their format, their availability, the time it takes to redact any information that cannot be disclosed pursuant to FOIL, the time it takes to assemble the documents, and other factors.

If you will need to pay a fee to obtain the records you request, we will notify you before we release the records to you. Unless a different fee is otherwise prescribed by statute, Public Officers Law §87(1) authorizes an agency to charge a fee of 25¢ per copy for copies of records up to 9"x 14", or the actual cost of reproducing a record. In determining the actual cost of producing a record, an agency may include only:

  • an amount equal to the hourly salary attributed to the lowest paid agency employee who has the necessary skill required to prepare the requested record(s), if at least two hours of agency employee time is needed to prepare a copy of the record(s) requested;
  • the actual cost of the storage devices or media provided to the person making the request in complying with such request; or
  • the actual cost to the agency of engaging an outside professional service to prepare a copy of a record, but only when an agency's information technology equipment is inadequate to prepare a copy, if such service is used to prepare the copy.

Once the requested records are prepared, you may receive the records via email, paper, CD/DVD, file transfer service, or USB.

You must make an appointment if you wish to inspect and copy records at the Department's offices. DEC is open for the inspection and copying of records between the hours of 8:45 AM and 4:45 PM, Monday through Friday, excluding State holidays. A list of State holidays during which DEC is closed is available at 2019 Legal Holidays (leaves DEC website). DEC makes its records available for inspection and copying at the following locations:

  • Central Office, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-1010. Phone: (518) 402-9522
  • Region 1, SUNY @ Stony Brook, 50 Circle Road, Stony Brook, NY 11790-3409. Phone: (631) 444-0202
  • Region 2, 1 Hunter's Point Plaza, 47-40 21st Street, Long Island City, NY 11101-5401. Phone: (718) 482-4900
  • Region 3, 21 South Putt Corners Road, New Paltz, NY 12561-1696. Phone: (845) 256-3000
  • Region 4, 1130 North Westcott Rd., Schenectady, NY 12306-2014. Phone: (518) 357-2046
  • Region 5, 1115 NYS Route 86, P.O. Box 296, Ray Brook, NY 12977-0296. Phone: (518) 897-1241
  • Region 6, 317 Washington St., Watertown, NY 13601-3787. Phone: (315) 785-2239
  • Region 7, 615 Erie Blvd. West, Syracuse, NY 13204-2400. Phone: (315) 426-7403
  • Region 8, 6274 E. Avon-Lima Rd., Avon, NY 14414-9519. Phone: (585) 226-2466
  • Region 9, 270 Michigan Ave., Buffalo NY 14203-2915. Phone: (716) 851-7200

Right to Appeal

Under provisions of the Public Officers Law you may appeal a FOIL determination. If you desire to submit an appeal, you must do so in writing within 30 days of the written response to your FOIL request. Please include the FOIL Request Number, a copy of the original request for records, and a copy of DEC's FOIL response letter in your written appeal. Submit your written appeal letter to:

FOIL Appeal Officer
Office of General Counsel
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Albany, NY 12233-1500

To submit your appeal by e-mail, send it to: access.records@dec.ny.gov

You will be informed in writing of the appeal decision within ten business days of our receipt of your appeal.

Subject Matter List

The following is a current list of records that DEC maintains, by subject matter. Some of the listed records may be exempt from disclosure pursuant to the Freedom of Information Law.

DEC's Records List

Agency FOIL Regulations

FOIL Regulations for DEC: 6 NYCRR Part 616

Helpful Tips

For more information about FOIL, please visit the New York State Committee on Open Government's website.

Online FOIL Request System - Online system for submitting, editing, and tracking Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests to DEC

When submitting a FOIL request:

  • Be as specific as possible in describing the requested records. Include relevant dates, names, descriptions, etc. See suggested language for a FOIL request from the Committee on Open Government.
  • Specify whether you would like to inspect the records or have copies of the records sent to you. If want us to send the records to you, please specify whether you want photocopies or electronic copies.
  • If records are available, specify how you want them sent, i.e., via US mail, e-mail or fax. We may choose to send the records by U.S. mail, if you have requested a large volume of records, for security or other reasons. We will notify you of any charge for reproducing such records before they are sent to you.
  • Include your e-mail, mailing address, telephone number, and fax number where we can reach you during business hours. We may need to contact you to clarify your request, to schedule your in-person inspection of records, or for other reasons.
  • Please note that the agency is not required to create a new record in response to FOIL requests.

More about New York State Freedom of Information Law (FOIL):

  • Online FOIL Request System - Online system for submitting, editing, and tracking Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests to DEC
  • DEC Records List - The Department's subject matter list briefly describes the various types of records maintained by DEC.