For Immediate Release: October 3, 2013
Contact: Craig Richardson, [email protected]
Introducing The Energy & Environment Legal Institute
Board of Directors Votes to Change Name from The American Tradition Institute (ATI)
Washington, D.C. – The Board of Directors recently voted to change the name of the American Tradition Institute (ATI) to The Energy and Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal), effectively immediately.
ATI, a 501 (c) (3) organization founded in 2010, enjoyed tremendous success for a small organization. However, an organization’s name should reflect the group’s mission and focus. Feedback made It clear that the name “American Tradition Institute” was confusing in that it did not connote what it actually does in practice.
Related to this, experience showed that the group’s most effective weapon is strategic litigation. Hard-core environmentalist activists like the Natural Resources Defense Council have been highly successful for years in using the court system to enact policy, affect change, and generate significant exposure for their cause. Our organization has discovered the same thing despite being overmatched in terms of resources in many of its legal efforts.
“Since this organization’s fairly recent founding, we have emerged as a national leader in strategic free market environmental litigation,” said Dr. David Schnare, E&E Legal General Counsel. “We believe streamlining our focus to two primary practice areas – petition litigation and transparency (FOIA and open record requests) – will enable us to make a significant difference in the efforts to restore sensible and rational energy and environmental policies to our country.”
In recent years, the group’s petition litigation practice has required courts to reevaluate prior decisions, hold rogue agencies and government employees accountable, and put false science on trial. Specifically, it has published treatises on and filed landmark cases under the 10th Amendment, protecting the prerogatives of state and local government. Its established and prosecuted precedential dormant commerce clause litigation attacking state climate change legislation that mandates high-cost, low value renewable energy in place of low-cost, high value natural gas and coal-based energy.
In addition, the organization has established a significant transparency or “paper case” practice through its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request program, led by E&E Legal Senior Legal Fellow Chris Horner. Documents produced under FOIA are instrumental in exposing to the public errors, omissions, unethical behavior, intimidation, rule-skirting and even outright fraud on the part of government agencies and their employees. In short, the oft-touted, rarely offered transparency holds federal and state governments accountable to the public.
“It is clear based on the results of the significant number of FOIA requests we’ve filed that many agencies involved in developing and promulgating energy and environment policies have constantly violated the law and public trust, particularly the EPA,” said Horner. “Activist public employees have been shown to be using fictitious names, personal e-mail accounts and offsite document retention in conducting the public’s business. Worse, these actions seem designed to avoid exposure of inappropriately cozy relationships with the Environmentalist Left and rent-seeking industry, or sexing up the actual facts related to their onerous agenda. The need for stepped-up transparency efforts like E&E Legal’s, to hold the government accountable, speaks for itself.”
E&E Legal will continue to rely on its stable of professional and well-regarded senior fellows to conduct policy research and generate reports. Their role will now focus on bolstering litigation efforts (e.g., expert witness testimony, policy papers supporting a particular case that can be turned into articles and other public education tools, etc.).
“With the refinement of our brand, and focus on strategic litigation, E&E Legal is poised to be a leader in the free-market energy and environmental policy movement that results in real and meaningful changes to bad policies that have helped cripple our economy, hurt consumers, and has done virtually nothing to help the environment,” said Craig Richardson, Executive Director. “Our strategic litigation practice packs a one-two punch, supported by a top-notch policy team that provides the necessary research foundation to wage successful legal and policy battles.”
Schnare, who has 33 years of Environmental Protection Agency experience, will lead the petition litigation practice as General Counsel. Horner, a national leader in transparency cases, and the one who discovered and exposed that EPA administrator Lisa Jackson was using of a false-identity email account, “Richard Windsor,” apparently to skirt federal record-keeping and disclosure laws, will continue to advise E&E Legal’s transparency efforts. Tom Tanton, with 40 years of energy technology and legislative experience, will serve as Director of Science & Technology, and oversee the policy shop. Richardson, a Washington communications veteran, and longtime political campaign professional, will serve as Executive Director.
The Energy and Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal) is a 501(c)(3) organization engaged in strategic litigation, policy research, and public education on important energy and environmental issues. Primarily through its strategic litigation efforts, E&E Legal seeks to address and correct onerous federal and state governmental actions that negatively impact energy and the environment. E&E Legal advocates responsible resource development, sound science, respect for property rights, and a commitment to markets as it holds accountable those who seek excessive and destructive government regulation that’s based on agenda-driven policy making, junk science, and hysteria.