For Immediate Release:
March 31, 2015

Contact:
Craig Richardson
Richardson@eelegal.org
202-758-8301

E&E Legal Files Suit to Compel U.S. State Department to Produce Documents Related to its Involvement with Green Activists, Certain Records Concerning “Climate Change” and the Paris, “Kyoto II” Meetings

Today, the Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal) filed a lawsuit to compel the U.S. State Department (State) to produce public records relating to its involvement with third-party green groups in developing the recently announced understanding with China about greenhouse gas emissions, and the upcoming Kyoto II treaty being developed for agreement this December in Paris. E&E Legal also sought one particular record it understands exists, helping to illustrate how the scientific proclamations supposedly justifying these pacts are reached, in turn shedding further light on the agreements themselves.

This action also comes as the Obama administration submits its plan for the December Paris agreement.

This information is of increased importance in the face of Senate opposition to further Executive freelancing on what obviously is a treaty requiring that body’s advice and consent. This action also comes as the Obama administration finalizes its plan for the December Paris agreement. However, despite statutory requirements regarding the release of information E&E Legal sought under two separate Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, State has offered no indication it is actually processing either of them, forcing the suit. Notably, State can not withhold records claiming the oft-abused “deliberative process” exemption for many or even most of the responsive emails, given these are correspondence with outside lobbies.

On January 28, 2015, the Free Market Environmental Law Clinic (FMELC), on behalf of E&E Legal, filed a FOIA request with State seeking emails and text messages sent to or from five senior State officials and the third-party green activist groups World Wildlife Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council, Greenpeace, and the Sierra Club. In addition, the FOIA sought e-mails and texts from these same five employees containing certain terms relating to the “announcement” (not agreement) with China, and the planned agreement set for adoption in Paris without Senate advice and consent as required in the Constitution (Art. II, Sec. 2).

“This Administration is using every agency to impose its energy-scarcity agenda, and our FOIA work has exposed improperly close and even collusive work with outside pressure groups to do so,” said Chris Horner, E&E Legal Senior Legal Fellow and attorney who filed the FOIAs. “The Senate and the public need to see the correspondence we seek in today’s suit well before the administration purports to commit the United States in a ‘politically binding’ pact, vowing to constrain our ability to use the most reliable energy sources which we have in abundance.”

The second FOIA was filed on February 2, 2015. It is a narrow request that seeks copies “of any correspondence and/or memoranda and enclosed, attached, or otherwise related documents sent from Day Mount in the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs to the IPCC Working Group, dated November 15, 1995.”

By statute, State has twenty working days to produce the documents. After acknowledging receipt of both FOIAs, State has subsequently failed to provide an initial determination of the number of responsive records it intends to release or withhold.

“It is not our desire to sue agencies for failure to release information they are required under law to produce in a timely manner,” noted Horner. “Unfortunately, however, this Administration has a culture of stonewalling, particularly when the documents in question are potentially embarrassing because they illustrate the extent of their war on traditional fuel sources, as well as the cozy relationships that exist between government employees and environmentalist pressure groups.”

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The Energy & 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 petition litigation and transparency practice areas, E&E Legal seeks to correct onerous federal and state policies that hinder the economy, increase the cost of energy, eliminate jobs, and do little or nothing to improve the environment.

The Free Market Environmental Law Clinic (FME Law) provides litigation and research services to qualified clients. We concentrate on cases involving landmark free-market pro-environmental litigation; use of open records and data quality laws to force greater governmental accountability and transparency; and, cases that allow the Clinic to help create the next generation of free market oriented attorneys.

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