Feds Accused of Unlawfully Withholding Carbon Emission Docs

WASHINGTON (CN) – The U.S. government’s failure to produce a report detailing greenhouse gas emissions and any steps taken to reduce the national carbon footprint has triggered a lawsuit by an environmental advocacy group.

The Center for Biological Diversity filed the 15-page complaint against the State Department Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

The conservation group claims the State Department has routinely ignored its requests for records prepared or produced for an already long overdue U.S. Climate Action Report.

The report, due Jan. 1, is part of a longstanding obligation the U.S. has under terms of former President George H.W. Bush’s ratified United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. That framework was established in 1992 and effectively opened the door for U.S. participation in the 2015 Paris Agreement.

The conservation group claims the department has flatly ignored its Freedom of Information Act request since Feb. 1.

The request specifically demanded copies of records “mentioning, including and/or referencing the [climate report]…including but not limited to U.S. greenhouse gas emission inventories, climate action plans and international financial assistance.”

The center’s attorney Anchun Jean Su, also says the State Department has also ignored requests for any records which might explain the cause for the delay and any communication which mention or reference the effects of “consequence of compliance and non-compliance with [the climate agreement].”

In a statement Tuesday, Jean Su, the center’s associate conservation director said the failure to comply with reporting rules was particularly jarring given “a year of deadly, record-breaking storms.”

“Blowing off climate reporting requirements is wildly irresponsible,” Su wrote. “We need to know who or what is holding up this critical report, given the Trump administration’s dangerous record of climate denial and aversion to transparency.”

President Trump filed intent to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement in November 2016, but per terms of the accord, official withdrawal will only take effect in November 2020.

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