The Hill has this on the EPA's defense of its FEAT program which was designed to assist in the processing of FOIA requests. The program recently came to light when an agency official told Elijah Cummings (D-MD) that some "politically charged" requests came under more scrutiny under the program. However, Kevin Minoli, a career official defended the program which came into existence in 2014.
My guess is that the program was in existence and was devised for the purposes Minoli stated; however, seeing an opening to delay requests that may not show recent political employees of the agency in the best light, certain requests were placed in the program for purposes that weren't what the program was devised for. The only way to know this is for Cummings to get a list of all of the requests in the program and analyze them.