State Department faces 2nd lawsuit over Hochstein FOIA request

State Department faces 2nd lawsuit over expedited Amos Hochstein FOIA request

One year later, Friends of the Earth reignites push to uncover fossil fuel influence in EU-US Task Force’s Ukraine response after winning expedited treatment 

WASHINGTON – Friends of the Earth has sued the U.S. Department of State for a second time over an expedited 2022 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request targeting Biden energy official Amos Hochstein and potential fossil fuel influence over the U.S. response to the war in Ukraine.

Despite the original lawsuit spurring the Department to grant expedited processing one year ago, Friends of the Earth has only received on average fewer than 30 pages a month. The State Department has also failed to determine how many documents are responsive and how long it will take to process them, as mandated by federal law.

“The Biden Administration’s fossil fuel diplomacy is a climate disaster,” said Lukas Ross, Senior Program Manager at Friends of the Earth. “If the President insists on employing a former fossil fuel executive, then the public deserves to know whose interests are being advanced behind closed doors.”

The records at issue would shed light on the crucial role that Hochstein, a former LNG executive, played within the State Department while overseeing the EU-US Task Force on Energy Security from the start of the war through May 2023. It was recently reported that Hochstein was promoted to a White House energy and climate advisory role.

“This foot-dragging simply cannot continue,” said Hallie Templeton, Legal Director at Friends of the Earth. “It should not take legal action to force FOIA fulfillment, yet here we are again. One thing is clear: the State Department’s obstruction won’t stand, and we are doing everything in our power to ensure that our country’s open government laws are properly fulfilled.”

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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