San Juan Citizens Alliance v. DOI, No. 13-02466, 2014 WL 4854841 (D. Colo. Sept. 30, 2014) (Blackburn, J.)
Re: Request for "expressions of interest" submitted to Bureau of Land Management (BLM) as part of agency sale of oil and gas leases
Disposition: Granting defendant's motion for summary judgment
- Exemption 4: The court holds that "[u]nder Exemption 4 of the FOIA, the BLM properly may withhold the information." The court relates that "[t]he sole issue in this case is whether the e-mail address of [a third party's] client was withheld properly." The court notes that "[i]n the present case, there is no contention that the e-mail address at issue is a trade secret." "In addition, there is no dispute that the e-mail address was obtained from a person." The court first finds that the third party "has a commercial interest in the identity of its client, including the e-mail address in question," because "'the disclosure of this information may result in greater competition and increased lease acquisition costs.'" The court then "find[s] and conclude[s] that the BLM has shown that release of the e-mail address would cause substantial harm to the competitive position of [the third party], the person from whom the information was obtained." The court notes that "[the third party] was not required to submit the e-mail address in question with its EOI" and, therefore, "the e-mail address was submitted voluntarily, though possibly inadvertently." The court finds that the third party's "business relationship with its client and all other oil and gas companies depends upon the confidentiality afforded to each company's identity and business prospects."