EDF Sues Interior, NOAA, NASA for Failure to Release Public Records about Trump Administration Attacks on Climate Science

November 1, 2019
Sharyn Stein, 202-572-3396, sstein@edf.org

(Washington, D.C. – October 31, 2019) EDF is going to court to gain access to public records about Trump administration efforts to undermine climate science. Three federal agencies have failed to make the records available as required by the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

EDF filed a complaint, with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia today against the Department of the Interior, NASA and NOAA, stating:

“The public … has a strong interest in understanding the extent to which the current administration and Defendants are seeking, or have sought, to undermine established scientific conclusions about the threat of climate change to the national security interests of the United States … EDF requested the records in order to increase transparency around this issue of enormous public interest.” (Complaint, page 3)

EDF submitted FOIA requests to ten agencies, including the three defendants, more than seven months ago for public records related to White House efforts to undermine established findings that climate change poses a national security threat.

According to news reports, William Happer – former senior director in the National Security Council and a prominent denier of the dangers of climate change – planned to convene a federal working group to re-evaluate the results of key federal reports about the risks that climate change poses to the United States, including to national security. Representatives from the Department of the Interior, NASA and NOAA’ s parent agency were invited to participate.

After seven months, the Department of the Interior and NOAA have failed to respond to EDF’s FOIA requests. NASA produced some public records (including some reported on by the news media) but the agency has unlawfully withheld others and never responded to EDF’s formal administrative appeal.

# # #

Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org), a leading international nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships. Connect with us on EDF Voices, Twitter and Facebook.