Court Expands Public’s Right to Know About Power Plant Water Pollution

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Environmental groups are filing a complaint against the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to compel the agency to release additional information about the roles the White House played in weakening the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rules to satisfy the concerns of power companies.  The complaint is being filed in the wake of a recent order by a federal judge expanding a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) involving White House and SBA efforts to weaken proposed environmental regulations of power plant water pollution.

The complaint and order paves the way for EIP and other environmental groups to challenge OMB’s failure to provide a complete response to their FOIA request for documents showing OMB’s role in weakening EPA’s proposed rule.  OMB has released over 800 pages of correspondence concerning EPA’s proposed rule but blacked out the vast majority of that material on the ground that it was exempt from public disclosure.

In 2010, EIP and other environmental groups filed a lawsuit against EPA to compel it to update the standards based on affordable, state-of-the-art technologies that have the potential to virtually eliminate toxic pollution of our waterways from coal-fired power plants.  The EPA proposed the new rules in April 2013, but only after the White House review of the proposed rules forced the agency to significantly weaken their requirements.

Read the press release.

Read the complaint.

Read the court order.