rejects Bush administrations attempts to delay disclosure of energy documents
In a setback
to the Bush administrations efforts to avoid handing over key energy documents,
a Federal District Judge decisively rejected the governments attempted appeal
to a higher court. As we go to press, the strongly-worded decision means that
the judges earlier order compelling the White House to release the documents
by December 9th remains in effect.
This decision brings the American people one step closer to finding out
just who the Vice Presidents energy task force met with in drafting its
dirty, dangerous energy plan, said David Bookbinder, senior attorney with
the Sierra Club.
Federal Judge Emmet G. Sullivan gave short shrift to the Vice Presidents
plea to send the case up to the court of appeals. He strongly rebuked the government,
asserting that once again the defendants have misrepresented precedent.
He also admonished the Justice Department for mischaracterizing the intent
and effect of this courts orders.
The energy policy that came out of the administration has serious impacts
on the health and safety of American communities. The public deserves to know
who drafted that policy, said Bookbinder.
For months, the administration has resisted producing documents for discovery
and instead has used stall tactics in order to delay the process.
The Sierra Club suit asserts that by refusing to tell the public about the influence
energy industries had in crafting national energy policy, the Cheney Task Force
violated the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). The Sierra Club is asking
the court to require Vice President Cheney and other defendants to disclose to
the American people what went on behind closed doors in the creation of the national
energy policy. The suit has been consolidated with a similar suit filed by Judicial
The energy policy that ultimately came out of the Administration relies on technologies
that will pollute our air and water, destroy special places and fail to reduce
our dependence on oil and coal. At the very least, the American people deserve
an explanation of why the Administration chose this path rather than safer and
cleaner technologies that would protect the environment and save consumers money
at the same time.
The Sierra Club is asking for a full accounting of what happened behind the closed
doors of the Cheney Energy Task Force, including: who was in the room; what proposals
did the energy industry executives and lobbyists make; what documents did the
energy industry submit; and what Task Force documents did they review.