40 West 20th Street PO Box 177
11th Floor Morris, NY 13808
New York, NY 10011 (607) 263-5600
TO: Linda Ewing
Town of Morris Town Clerk
93 Main Street
Morris, NY 13808
September 25, 2013
Dear Ms. Ewing:
This letter follows our September 24, 2013 conversation discussing the Natural Resources
Defense Council’s (“NRDC”) and the Advocates for Morris’ Freedom of Information Law
(“FOIL”) request of August 22, 2013. We received a response to that request on September 12,
2013.1 Thank you for your response, and for your help in answering our questions.
Per our conversation, we write to appeal the Town of Morris’ (the “Town”) determination that
there are no “agreements/leases/communications etc., in regards to any of the matters listed in
your letter.” We appeal under the New York Freedom of Information Law, Article 6 of the
Public Officers Law Section 89(4)(a). Section 89(4)(a) provides that “any person denied access
to a record may within thirty days appeal in writing such denial to the head, chief executive or
governing body of the entity, or the person therefor designated by such head, chief executive, or
governing body.” That head, chief executive, governing body, or designee shall “within ten
business days of the receipt of such appeal fully explain in writing to the person requesting the
record the reasons for further denial, or provide access to the record sought.”
I) Description of Appeal
We appeal on the belief that there are responsive documents within the Town’s possession and
control that should have been included in the Town’s response to our August 22, 2013 request.
On information and belief, those responsive documents include:
1) Records2 or communications exchanged between the Independent Oil and Gas
Association and the Town related to the matters outlined in our August 22, 2013 request,3
and any related Town records;
2) Records or communications exchanged between Delta Engineers, Architects, & Land
Surveyors, P.C., and the Town related to preparing for potential natural gas extraction,
production, storage, or transportation in the Town, and any related Town records;
3) Records or communications between the Central New York Landowner’s Coalition
(“CNY Landowner’s Coalition”) and the Town related to the matters outlined in our
August 22, 2013 request, and any related Town records. On information and belief, this
includes records or communications relating to a meeting between former Board Member
Philip Wagner and the CNY Landowner’s Coalition which occurred on or about February
4) Records or communications relating to a meeting which Supervisor McCann and former
Board Member Philip Wagner attended about gas drilling and home rule on or about June
5) Records or communications exchanged between Town officials themselves relating to the
matters outlined in our August 22, 2013 request. On information and belief, this includes
records of or communications about forming a committee to address gas drilling, about
holding an informational forum on gas drilling, and about researching gas drilling. These
subjects, on information and belief, were discussed a Town Board meeting on or about
July 12, 2011;
6) Materials submitted to the Town regarding bans on natural gas extraction by pro-natural
gas extraction supporters on or about October 11, 2011, and any related Town records.
Attached are materials we received from other sources that we believe are responsive to our
August 22, 2013 request. It is materials like this, and records related to such materials, that we
believe may be responsive.
We also respectfully request that the Town include in their response any and all other documents
the Town believes, upon further review, are responsive to our August 22, 2013 request.
II) Request for Fee and Copying Flexibility
Please consult with NRDC before undertaking any action that would cause the Town to levy a
fee under Public Officers Law Article 6 Section 87(1)(c). Please provide NRDC with notice of
the number of responsive documents before engaging in acts for which a fee would be owed, for
example, making copies. Please also make any responsive documents available, on Town
premises, for inspection. Finally, we also request that, wherever possible, copies of all responsive
records be provided in electronic format.
We look forward to your response within ten (10) business days of receipt of this letter, as
provided by Public Officers Law Section 89(4)(a).
Subject to Section II, above, please produce the records requested by emailing or mailing them to
us at the NRDC office address listed below. If you decline to produce any portion of our request,
please inform us of the reasons for the denial in writing as provided for by Public Officers Law
Section 89(4)(a). We also remind you that the Public Officers Law requires the Town to forward
a copy of this appeal and the ensuing determination to the Committee on Open Government.
Please feel free to call or email us with questions, and thank you again for your help.
1 Per our conversation, the Town of Morris mailed a response to our request on August 29, 2013. Unfortunately, we
never received that mailed response. On information and belief, that miscommunication was not the result of the
error of any party to this letter. The Advocates for Morris received the Town’s response only through in-person
delivery on September 12, 2013. The Advocates scanned and electronically mailed that response to NRDC that same
day. NRDC confirmed that the document received was a fair and accurate copy of the Town’s response in our
conversation on September 24, 2013.
2 The term “records” is defined as it was in our August 22, 2013 request. “Records” includes any and all information
as defined in Public Officers Law § 86(4). The term also includes letters, emails, recorded phone conversations,
records of the existence of phone calls, minutes of meetings, statistical or factual tabulations or data, instructions to
staff that affect the public, and final policy determinations.
3 The matters outlined in our August 22, 2013 request were: “The sale or leasing of Town of Morris land for the
extraction, production, storage, or transportation of natural gas; The zoning or re-zoning of Town of Morris land for
the extraction, production, storage, or transportation of natural gas; Potential natural gas extraction, production,
storage, or transportation within the Town of Morris generally; or The current statewide moratorium on high volume
hydraulic fracturing in New York.”
Natural Resources Defense Council
40 West 20th Street, 11th Floor
New York, NY 10011
T: (212) 727-2700
Advocates for Morris
PO Box 177
Morris, NY 13808
T: (607) 263-5600