New records request targets delayed FOIA

New records request targets delayed FOIA of Biden “energy whisperer”

Friends of the Earth seeks documents regarding delayed response to 2022 expedited records request targeting possible fossil fuel influence of Biden energy advisor Amos Hochstein

WASHINGTON — Friends of the Earth filed a follow-up Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request today targeting the State Department’s handling of records related to Amos Hochstein, a former LNG executive and President Biden’s Special Coordinator for Global Infrastructure and Energy Security. 

The new request seeks to shed light on the State Department’s delayed processing of an expedited FOIA request filed last year, which sought to secure Hochstein’s calendar, his communications with career ethics officials and his communications in support of LNG as part of the secretive US-EU Energy Task Force.

Within days of filing the 2022 FOIA request, Friends of the Earth sued the State Department, which resulted in the original request being granted “expedited processing”— an exceedingly high bar under the statute.

“President Biden’s support for LNG is putting his climate legacy at risk,” said Lukas Ross, Program Manager at Friends of the Earth. “Records concerning the fossil fuel entanglements of his closest advisors need to see the light of day.” 

Since the 2022 request was added to the expedited queue, the State Department has only produced a mere 170 pages. In order to prompt timely action from the State Department, Eubanks and Associates, PLLC, FOIA counsel for Friends of the Earth, warned the agency this month to make a determination regarding the remaining responsive documents by May 3 in order to avoid potential legal action. 

“The State Department is acting as if ‘expedited status’ has no greater urgency than the processing of a routine FOIA request.,” said Hallie Templeton, Legal Director at Friends of the Earth. “The public has a right to know if our expedited request is being slow-walked or otherwise mishandled. We will do everything in our power to ensure that the State Department properly fulfills its open government mandates.”

New LNG contracts have exploded in the year following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to a joint report from Friends of the Earth, Public Citizen and BailoutWatch. The Biden Administration continues to showcase alarming support for new LNG projects, rubber-stamping Department of Energy approval for the $39 billion Alaska LNG project just two weeks ago. This massive carbon bomb is the subject of a separate, ongoing public records request by Friends of the Earth.

Communications contact:  Brittany Miller, Friends of the Earth, (202) 222-0746, [email protected] 

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