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Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility v. Pruitt

ELR Citation: 48 ELR 20085
Nos. 17-652, (D.D.C., 06/01/2018) (Howell, J.)

A district court ordered EPA to comply with a FOIA request concerning the EPA Administrator's statement on TV that he did not believe human activity was a primary cause of climate change. Following his remarks, an environmental group filed a FOIA request for EPA records “relied upon by Administrator Pruitt in making these statements and any EPA documents that support the conclusions that human activity is not the largest factor driving global climate change." EPA has performed no search for and produced no records in response to the FOIA request. Rather, the Agency argued that the request amounts to an improper interrogatory and is otherwise overbroad and unduly burdensome. But the court disagreed, stating that EPA "failed to demonstrate a viable legal basis" for its refusal to conduct any search whatsoever in response to the group's "straightforward" FOIA request.