Green groups sue Commerce Department over FOIA’d crude export permits, environmental reviews
By Joshua Cain, FuelFix, Sept. 24, 2015
In November 2014, the Center of Biological Diversity and ForestEthics, both nonprofits based in the San Francisco area, sent a Freedom of Information Act request to get copies of any oil export permits being handed out by the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security.
The groups also requested documents related to environmental reviews of the permits they argue are required by the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act, which force federal agencies to determine the environmental impacts of any policies they enact.
The complaint that the groups filed on Thursday says that in response to their FOIA request, the BIS told them that the agency “has no responsive documents” on any environmental reviews. The agency also cited a rule in the original oil export ban that exempted permits issued by the BIS from open-records requests; the CBD and ForestEthics argue that that exemption expired in 2001.
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