State Department sued over Amos Hochstein FOIA request

Lawsuit cites urgency of uncovering fossil fuel influence in EU-US Task Force’s Ukraine response

WASHINGTON – Friends of the Earth has sued the U.S. Department of State for refusing to expedite a records request targeting potential fossil fuel influence over the Biden administration’s response to the crisis in Ukraine. Recent U.S. commitments to increase liquified natural gas (LNG) exports threaten to worsen the climate crisis and delay the transition to renewables.

The organization filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on May 12 in an attempt to shine a light on potential bias that Amos Hochstein, a former LNG executive, might be bringing to his current role as Senior Advisor for Energy Security at the State Department. 

“This is not the climate leadership President Biden promised,” said Lukas Ross, Program Manager at Friends of the Earth. “A former LNG executive in charge of increasing LNG exports is like something out of the Trump administration. This is a blatant conflict of interest and it won’t stand.”

Hochstein officially rejoined the State Department in August 2021 after working as an executive at Tellurian, a LNG export developer. He has since become a leading voice in the Biden administration’s response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, overseeing the new EU-US Task Force on Energy Security, whose mandate includes increasing LNG exports to Europe.

“We are deeply disappointed that the State Department outright denied our urgent request,  unlawfully failing to acknowledge our evidence supporting expedited processing,” said Hallie Templeton, Legal Director at Friends of the Earth. “Clearly, the crisis in Ukraine is not at the top of their mind. Until the State Department decides to follow the law, we will keep taking them to court.”

Friends of the Earth is being represented by the public interest law firm Eubanks & Associates, PLLC.

Communications Contact: Brittany Miller, [email protected], (202) 222-0746

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