Energy & Environment

Sierra Club sues Energy Department over long-awaited grid study

Greg Nash

The Sierra Club on Monday sued the Department of Energy (DOE) for its “secrecy” over a key study on the reliability of the electric grid.

In its lawsuit, the Sierra Club said the agency did not respond to open records requests seeking information about internal deliberations and outside communications over the study.

“We’ve repeatedly asked DOE for information to ensure reality and science are coming before polluter politics, but we have only been met with delays and secrecy,” Mary Anne Hitt, the director of Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, said in a statement.

“If the Trump administration refuses to be transparent in accordance with the law and continues to raise suspicion that it will interfere with the process, we have no choice but to take them to court.”


A DOE spokeswoman said the agency does not comment on lawsuits, but that it is “committed to being responsive to all FOIA requests and that is not different in this case.”

Energy Secretary Rick Perry in April ordered a study into the reliability of the electric grid, examining whether the growth of renewable power — and the decline of coal and nuclear generation — is putting the country’s electricity system at risk.

Greens and some renewable energy supporters oppose the study, saying it could be designed to bolster the Trump administration’s policy of supporting traditional sources of electricity over emerging sources such as wind and solar.

A draft study of the report, leaked in July, concluded that declining energy demand and low natural gas prices are to blame for the retirement of traditional power plants, not the rise of renewable energy or government regulations. But Energy Department officials said that draft report is out of date and the study could be changed before it’s released.

—Updated at 1:48 p.m.

Tags Department of Energy Rick Perry Sierra Club

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