- April 15 - The Bush Administration will again attempt to shroud their secret meetings with energy industries at a hearing
before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals this Thursday, April 17. This is the first hearing before the DC Circuit Court in
the Sierra Club's ongoing lawsuit against the Cheney Energy Task Force. The Sierra Club is seeking to shed light on how much
influence polluting industries had in the crafting of the Bush Administration Energy Plan. The plan has since served as the
blueprint for much of the polluting Energy bill that passed the House last week and the energy bill currently before the Senate.
For more information, see fact sheet below.
What: DC Circuit
Court Hearing for Sierra Club lawsuit against the Cheney Energy Task Force.
AM Thursday, April 17, 2003
Where: US Courthouse,
3rd and Constitution NW 5th Floor
spokespeople will be available after the hearing at the courthouse. Interviews or updates before the hearing can be scheduled
by calling David Willett at 202-675-6698. Updated Fact Sheet Below.
Club Suit Against Cheney Energy Task Force Next Hearing on Thursday, April 17, 2003
deserves a safe, clean, and affordable energy future. Fortunately, the technologies exist to get us there. But the Bush Administration
and Congressional leadership are taking us down the wrong path with a destructive, expensive, and polluting energy bill. Much
of the bill stems from the Bush Administration's Energy Task Force plan, which was developed in secret with the help of energy
industry officials. Below is an update on the Sierra Club lawsuit to make public information about those closed-door meetings:
to be heard on April 17:
is suing Vice President Cheney and the Energy Task Force under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). We are seeking an
accounting of energy industry participation in crafting the Bush Administration's destructive energy policy, which relies
on subsidies to polluting and outdated fossil fuel industries. The District Court ordered the Administration to provide information
about participation from these industries, which the Bush Administration refused to do, claiming Constitutional immunity from
such inquiries. The District Court rejected that contention, pointing out that the Administration was attempting to "cloak
what is tantamount to an aggrandizement of Executive power with the legitimacy of precedent where none exists." The Administration
appealed and is now asking the D.C. Circuit to make new law that would effectively shield it from any legal scrutiny.
Energy Task Force:
29, 2001 President Bush established the National Energy Policy Development Group, better known as the "Cheney Energy Task
Force." Formally, the Energy Task Force included the Vice President and the Secretaries of Energy, Commerce, Interior, Transportation,
Agriculture, Treasury, and the EPA Administrator. On May 16, 2001 the Task Force issued its recommendations for a "National
Energy Policy" and Congress is now considering an Energy Bill based on these proposals. According to media accounts, energy
industry leaders extensively participated in the Task Force. As a result, the Energy Policy heavily favors these industries;
indeed, some parts of the Policy expressly mimic industry proposals.
Advisory Committee Act:
FACA to regulate precisely this sort of special interest influence over government policy. FACA requires advisory committees
to open their meetings and records to the public. If Sierra Club prevails, the Administration will have to disclose extensive
information about Task Force membership, actions and records. With Court approval, Sierra Club has asked for information about
energy industry participation in the Task Force. The Bush Administration point-blank refused to respond, arguing instead that
the Constitution categorically prohibits such inquiries. When the District Court rejected this argument, the Administration
brought this appeal.
case has been consolidated with a FACA case brought by Judicial Watch. In addition, the General Accounting Office (GAO) also
sued (under a different law), seeking similar information. (GAO's case was dismissed in December, 2002, and GAO did not appeal.)
Finally, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) used the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to seek information from
various agencies about the Task Force. When these agencies did not comply with FOIA, NRDC sued, and its case is currently
pending in federal district court.