Such are the responses I've recently received when chipping some information free from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection's Office of Innovation and Assistance, and prying some loose from the Maine Department of Conservation's Bureau of Parks and Lands. Makes one wonder what'g going on behind the scenes.
Conservation's Bureau of Parks and Lands replied with this forbidding form letter, while MDEP's Office of Innovation and Assistance's slightly personalized response letter was, if anything, more unfriendly than Parks and Lands' missive.
Both agencies replied to the innocuous FOA queries (for memos and emails sent and recv'd the first two weeks after the legislature approved the ocean energy act) as if locating this information, which altogether must occupy no more than two or three manila folders in file drawers only inches from the replying staffers in their respective cubicles, would require a gargantuan effort that would require extra billing and time.
It seems as though they feel themselves victims of FOA Abuse, and must reply in kind. By FOA abuse I mean those requests that demand tens of thousands of pages of documents across myriad subdepartments for years back in time, for relatively spurious reasons. Wielding the Freedom of Access Act simply to tie up government workers' time.
By contrast, Penobscot Bay Watch FOA requests are typically tightly focused; the receiving officials needing to do little searching to locate them. But...guilt by association, one guesses.
UPDATE: Spoke with MDEP's Pete Carney who said that he'd given the Innovations staff until tomorrow to round up their info for me. FOA abuse? Carney wouldn't put it that way, but he noted that the Freedom of access law is being increasingly by litigants instead of waiting for 'production of the record' by the opposing side. This has increased the amount of file searching and copying by magnitudes. Thus the grumpiness of the MDEP form letter.