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Old Baldy, Canada | photo by Cameron Schaus

Sierra Club
Sierra Club asks judge to order Energy Task Force to hand over key documents

In early October the Sierra Club formally asked a federal judge to order the government to release documents relating to the Bush administration’s energy policy. The order became necessary when it became clear that the Bush administration would not comply with outstanding requests to produce the information.

The Sierra Club and Judicial Watch have sued to gain access to documents which would shed light on who Vice President Cheney’s energy task force collaborated with in drawing up the administration’s polluting, dangerous energy plan. Despite many calls by Judge Emmet Sullivan for the material to be released, Justice Department lawyers have consistently refused to comply. A court order would compel the government to end its foot-dragging.

When the Bush administration drew up its energy plan last year, it gave short shrift to environmentalists, but held a series of closed door meetings with polluting industries. The plan that the task force came up with would provide billions of dollars in giveaways to these very corporate polluters, open the pristine Arctic Refuge to destructive oil drilling, and do next-to-nothing to reduce oil consumption or encourage the use of renewable energy.

Sierra Club is asking for a full accounting of what happened when the Cheney task force rolled out the red carpet for industry, including: who was in the room; what proposals did the energy industry executives and lobbyists make; what documents did the energy industry submit; and what task force documents did they review.

“It is disappointing that we have to use the courts to gain access to crucial information on how the government is conducting the nation’s business,” said David Bookbinder, senior attorney with the Sierra Club.
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