In our continued effort at the Observer-Reporter in Washington, Pa., to obtain a copy of a mine water report from the Washington County Conservation District, we were hit today with an estimate of $219.23 to reproduce the 158-page document. The bill showed costs for such things as hand folding and typesetting, which were not part of our right-to-know request.
You can view the bill here, and read the related stories at this link.
The newspaper responded to the Conservation District today in writing that the bill was unreasonable and that a simple copy from its copier would have been sufficient, at a reasonable cost, as stipulated in Pennsylvania's Open Records law.
Had the staff looked at its policy on producing such records, it might have realized that there shouldn't have been a charge for the first 10 page. The policy was written with the guiding hand of the state Department of Environmental Protection to include a fee of 15 cents for each additional copy. The price, then, would have worked out to $22.20. Stay tuned....