Description: Freedom of Information lawsuit seeking external communications and meeting records for EPA staff that Sierra Club alleged had "troubling ties to polluting industries."
Sierra Club v. EPA
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 12/26/2018 Order Download Order issued granting plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment and addressing the production schedule. Federal Court Ruled for Sierra Club in FOIA Lawsuit Against EPA. On December 26, 2018, the federal district court for the Northern District of California granted Sierra Club’s motion for partial summary judgment in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit seeking the external communications of seven U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) personnel. The court agreed with the plaintiffs that EPA had violated FOIA by not making a determination as to whether to comply with Sierra Club’s four requests within 20 business days of receipt. The court ordered EPA to produce the priority documents identified by Sierra Club at “approximately” Sierra Club’s proposed schedule. 07/23/2018 Complaint Download First amended complaint filed. Sierra Club filed an amended complaint, removing allegations regarding its request for records related to text messages and adding new allegations regarding a May 2018 request for external communications of Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and other EPA staff and officials. 06/11/2018 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Sierra Club filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to compel EPA to respond to four requests for records. The requested records include the external communications of seven senior EPA employees and seven members of EPA's Intergovernmental Relations staff, the employees' calendars, records regarding attendance at meetings attended by these 14 staffmembers and anyone from outside EPA, certain external communications of the executive assistant for then-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, calendars, and records of attendance at meetings attended by Pruitt and anyone from outside EPA. Sierra Club also requested EPA guidance and training materials regarding text messages as well as logs of text messages uploaded to EPA databases. Sierra Club alleged that it sought records of the communications of EPA staff "with troubling ties to polluting industries," including "a former staff member to Senator James Inhofe, long known as Congress' most prominent skeptic of climate change science and a frequent recipient of contributions from fossil fuel companies" and "a former lobbyist for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, whose members have been historically reliant on coal and lobby against emissions-cutting regulations." Sierra Club also contended that EPA had improperly denied fee waivers for two requests.