Description: Lawsuit seeking communications and other records, including emails regarding climate change, from Vermont attorney general's office.
Energy Policy Advocates v. Attorney General’s Office
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 07/16/2021 Decision Download State’s motion for summary judgment granted in part and denied in part. Vermont Court Said Attorney General Communications Under Climate Litigation Common Interest Agreements Were Shielded from Disclosure. In a lawsuit brought by Energy Policy Advocates, a Vermont Superior Court ordered the Vermont Attorney General to produce seven common interest agreements concerning “the general subject of combatting global warming in some fashion,” but concluded that communications related to the common interest agreements were attorney work product that was shielded from disclosure under Vermont’s Public Records Act. The common interest agreements were with other state attorneys general (and, in one case, with auto manufacturers) and related to automobile greenhouse gas standards, California’s cap-and-trade policy, climate change public nuisance litigation, potential litigation to compel action concerning greenhouse gas emissions, NEPA regulations, and oil and gas development in the Arctic. The court concluded that the agreements themselves had to be produced so that the State could use them to document the refusal to produce subsequent communications within the scope of the agreements. The court rejected the argument that the communications were not protected because the lawsuits might have a political component or motivation. 06/01/2020 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Energy Policy Advocates Sought Vermont Attorney General Communications Related to Climate Change. In early June 2020, Energy Policy Advocates filed a lawsuit in state court in Vermont seeking to compel the Attorney General’s Office to produce records under the Vermont Public Records Law in response to four records requests made in April 2020. The requests sought certain correspondence, including certain emails with “GHG Emissions Affirmative Legislation” or “Affirmative Climate” in the subject line or that included the word “complaint” and “criteria pollutant,” “greenhouse gas,” or “GHG.” The complaint alleged that the Attorney General’s Office was improperly using common interest agreements to “shield records from the public eye, while nevertheless sharing such records with actors not employed by the State of Vermont.”