Description: Challenge to government agencies' financial support for international fossil fuel projects; sought preparation of environmental assessment or environmental impact statement.
Friends of the Earth, Inc. v. Spinelli
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 02/06/2009 Settlement Agreement Download Settlement reached. The Overseas Private Investment Corp. (OPIC) and the U.S. Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank) settled a lawsuit filed by several city governments and environmental groups, agreeing to consider GHG emissions that would result from the projects they finance. The lawsuit was filed by Friends of the Earth and several other plaintiffs in 2002 and alleged that OPIC and Ex-Im Bank, both independent government entities, provide monetary assistance to projects without assessing the CO2 emissions of these projects as mandated by NEPA and the Administrative Procedure Act. In 2005, the district court held that the plaintiffs had the right to sue the two agencies to force compliance. Under the terms of the settlement, the Ex-Im Bank, which provides financing for exports from the U.S., and OPIC, which offers insurance and loan guarantees for projects in developing countries, will revise their policies regarding the environment in consultation with representatives of the plaintiffs. Additionally, the bank will be required, whenever possible, to post environmental documents online for public comment and will, in conjunction with representatives of the plaintiffs, “develop and implement a carbon policy.” Further, the settlement requires the bank to assume a “leadership role” by taking actions such as encouraging transparency with regard to GHG emissions and “proposing common greenhouse gas mitigation standards for financed projects.” The settlement with OPIC requires that any project that emits more than 100,000 tons of CO2 equivalent a year be subject to an environmental impact assessment that takes into account GHG emissions. In addition, the settlement requires OPIC to report the emissions from such projects to the public on a yearly basis and to reduce the number of projects by 20% over the next 10 years.
02/06/2009 Settlement Agreement Download Settlement reached. 09/17/2007 Order Petition for interlocutory appeal denied. 03/30/2007 Opinion and Order Download Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment denied; defendants' motion for summary judgment granted in part and denied in part. 08/23/2005 Order Download Order issued denying defendants' motion for summary judgment. A federal district court held that an environmental organization had standing to challenge Overseas Private Investment Corporation's loans to projects in developing countries, denying the Corporation's motion for summary judgment. Plaintiffs alleged that the Corporation invested in overseas projects that contribute to climate change without complying with the requirements of NEPA or the Administrative Procedure Act.