Federal and state environmental laws often provide environmental agencies with the authority to seek information from parties that are subject to environmental regulations. Federal and state agencies, such as the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), often issue written Requests for Information (RFI) seeking information related to business, plant or equipment operations, including information relating to pollutants that may be discharged to the air or water or shipped to an off-site facility.
An RFI is an information gathering tool utilized by governmental authorities to obtain information about the past activities and operations of a regulated party. An RFI is the equivalent of discovery procedures used in litigation such as Interrogatories and Requests for Production.
An RFI often contains an open-ended set of questions and multiple requests for documents. There is no limit to the number of questions that may be asked or document requests that may be made. In fact, the EPA or a state agency may review the responses to an RFI and then choose to issue one or more additional RFI with another set of follow up requests.