Description: Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking information related to the preparation of a U.S. Department of the Interior report on federal oil and gas leasing, including the programs' impacts on climate change.
Friends of the Earth v. Council on Environmental Quality
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 04/25/2022 Complaint Download Complaint filed. FOIA Lawsuit Sought Records Related to Department of Interior Report on Oil and Gas Leasing. Friends of the Earth (FOE) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to compel disclosure of information that FOE alleged might reveal “potential political interference” in the preparation of a report by the U.S. Department of Interior on federal oil and gas permitting and leasing practices, “including potential climate and other impacts associated with oil and gas activities on public lands or in offshore waters.” President Biden directed the Secretary of the Interior to prepare the report in his Executive Order 14008 on “Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.” FOE alleged that the resulting report, released in November 2021, was “underwhelming” and entirely failed to discuss the “the federal leasing program’s causal role in accelerating climate change.” FOE alleged that it believed the report “may have been modified significantly in response to political pressure from the White House and CEQ, acting at the behest of oil-and-gas industry interests and oil-producing states.” FOE submitted a FOIA request seeking records and documents related to the report in January 2022, including communications between CEQ or the White House and other agencies and “records with trade associations of oil and gas operators/lessees.” FOE alleged that it had yet to receive any response to its request.