ENERGY DEPARTMENT ORDERED TO RELEASE RECORDS ON NATIONAL COAL COUNCIL

On behalf of the Niskanen Center we have prevailed in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking to pry loose documents relating to an influential federal advisory committee: the National Coal Council (“Council”). The Council uses its preferential access to the Department of Energy (“DOE”) and other federal officials to promote the use of coal as an energy source. Nonetheless, DOE withheld, in response to Niskanen Center’s FOIA request, documents bearing on who is paying for the work of the Council as well as other documents of significant interest to the public.  Judge James Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia agreed with our arguments that the public has a right to these materials under FOIA. The Court also agreed that DOE’s search for responsive documents was inadequate, including because DOE failed to search for materials in the Office of the Secretary of Energy. A copy of the Court’s ruling is ­here.