July 8, 2019
VIA ONLINE PORTAL
Senior Director of Public Records
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
RE: Public Records Request: UNC Burner Mod1
Dear Ms. Martin,
The Center for Biological Diversity (“Center”) is a non-profit organization that works to secure a future for all species hovering on the brink of extinction through science, law, and creative media, and to fulfill the continuing educational goals of its membership and the general public in the process. The Center makes this request pursuant to North Carolina’s Public Records Act, G.S. § 132-1 to § 132-11, which requires state agencies to promptly respond to requests for public records.
The Center is requesting the following records from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (“UNC-CH”):
1. The contract(s) for the installation of new burners in the boilers, identified as ES-006 and ES-007 in UNC-CH’s Title V Permit No. 03069T36, including but not limited to cost data;
2. The notice(s) of the completion of the new burner installation work referenced above in Item #1, and any notice(s) that all work on boilers ES-006 and ES-007 has been completed;
3. The studies or records showing changes to the burners and/or other parts of the boilers to increase their ability to burn natural gas; and
4. The studies or records showing the limitations of UNC-CH’s steam delivery system, particularly the capabilities of the Manning Drive Steam Plant relative to the cogeneration plant, to provide UNC-CH’s steam needs.
For this request, the term “records” refers to, but is not limited to documents, and/or all other responsive records, in draft or final form.
This request covers any non-identical duplicates of records that by reason of notation, attachment, or other alteration or supplement include any information not in the original record.
The Center is willing to receive responsive records on a rolling basis.
FEE WAIVER REQUEST
The Center requests a waiver of all fees because the disclosure of the requested information is in
the public interest, and will contribute significantly to public understanding of the air quality
impacts of UNC-CH’s operations on the surrounding community. This information will help the Center to assess UNC-CH’s claims that it is moving as quickly as possible to minimize the amount of coal being burned at the cogeneration plant. The Center has used past publicly available information to inform the public about pollution’s adverse effects on climate and air quality.
The Center is a non-profit organization that informs, educates, and counsels the public regarding environmental issues, policies, and laws relating to environmental issues. The Center has been substantially involved in the activities of numerous government agencies for over 25 years, and has consistently displayed its ability to disseminate information granted to it through public records requests.
In consistently granting the Center’s fee-waivers, agencies have recognized: (1) that the information requested by the Center contributes significantly to the public’s understanding of the government’s operations or activities; (2) that the information enhances the public’s understanding to a greater degree than currently exists; (3) that the Center possesses the expertise to explain the requested information to the public; (4) that the Center possesses the ability to disseminate the requested information to the general public; (5) and that the news media recognizes the Center as an established expert in the field of imperiled species, biodiversity, and impacts on protected species. The Center’s track record of active participation in oversight of governmental activities and decision making, and its consistent contribution to the public’s understanding of those activities as compared to the level of public understanding prior to disclosure are well established.
The Center intends to use the records requested here similarly. The Center’s work appears in nearly 5,000 news stories online and in print, radio and TV per month, including regular reporting in such important outlets as The New York Times, Washington Post, The Guardian, and Los Angeles Times. Many media outlets have reported on coal plants and air quality, utilizing information obtained by the Center from federal and state agencies. In 2018, more than 2.5 million people visited the Center’s extensive website, and viewed pages a total of 4.3 million times. The Center sends out more than 277 email newsletters and action alerts per year to more than over 1.4 million members and supporters. Three times a year, the Center sends printed newsletters to more than 69,500 members. More than 420,000 people have “liked” the Center on Facebook, and there are regular postings regarding environmental protection. The Center also regularly tweets to more than 71,200 followers on Twitter. The Center intends to use any or all of these far-reaching media outlets to share with the public information obtained as a result of this request. The Center intends to use any or all of these far-reaching media outlets to share
with the public information obtained as a result of this request. Disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest as it will contribute significantly to providing insight into UNC-CH’s Cogeneration Facilities. The information is not being sought for commercial purposes. Thus, the Center qualifies for a fee waiver.
We hope that UNC-CH will immediately grant this fee waiver request and begin to search and disclose the requested records without any unnecessary delays. If access to the records will take longer than five business days, please contact me with information about when I might expect copies or the ability to inspect the requested records.
If you have any questions, please contact me at email@example.com. All records and any related correspondence should be sent to my attention at the address below. Thank you for considering my request.
Ann K. Brown
Open Government Coordinator
CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
P.O. Box 11374
Portland, OR 97211-0374