>>> Last week, I wrote about 38,700 deleted oil-related emails that had been released due to an open-records request:
"Attorney Derrick Braaten got wind that North Dakota's Oil and Gas Division was mass-deleting emails and attachments - including "reports and photos of oil spills from emergency managers and landowners and reports of discrepancies in gas flaring data" - so he filed a state Freedom of Information Act request for them. Although they had been deleted, they were restored from a back-up server and sent to him at a cost of $8,900, as reported by the Bismarck Tribune on May 19, 2017."
Attorneys file lots of juicy requests related to their cases, but they usually don't post the resulting documents. So I filed a request for those emails and attachments - including permits, maps, and photos - figuring that previously released documents in digital format wouldn't cost much. I was wrong. The Oil and Gas Division's information officer told me that half the emails would have to be reviewed from scratch because there was a chance that, since the time they had been released, some of the oil-well information might've been deemed "confidential." The cost to me would be $3,850.
I informed the original requester, Derrick Braaten, about this, and he kindly sent me all 5.2 gigabytes of documents on a thumb drive. I've uploaded them to the Internet Archive at the link above.
The documents were released on a rolling basis, in six batches, and I've made a zip file of each one. Within each batch, the emails are grouped by employee. The first four batches have emails from multiple employees, while batches 5 and 6 cover one employee each.
The Memory Hole 2 is just me and a laptop against an army of secrecy.
If you like what I'm doing, please support my efforts.