Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Sierra Club Sues DOE Over Secrecy on Grid Study

Popular
Shutterstock

Sierra Club sued the Department of Energy (DOE) Monday for the agency's repeated delays in providing information on Rick Perry's ongoing grid study, amid suspicion that draft versions of the study may be dramatically altered by political appointees in the Trump administration.

Monday's lawsuit was filed after the Department of Energy failed to provide documents in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed on May 1, which requested communications between DOE officials working on the report and outside groups representing the fossil fuel industry or grid reliability experts.


"The public has every right to be concerned that the Trump administration is trying to use this study to push alternative facts about our electric grid. 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," said Mary Anne Hitt, director of Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign. "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."

The study has been the focus of heightened suspicion from clean energy job creators, policy experts and members of Congress as a ploy by the Trump administration to pressure grid operators and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to put in place rules that force electricity customers to bail out old, expensive coal and nuclear plants. Sierra Club's suspicion of the study was piqued after Trump and Perry repeatedly voiced the debunked theory that coal and nuclear plants were needed for grid stability, despite dozens of studies from energy policy experts at major universities, DOE laboratories and energy trade organizations that found that wasn't the case.

Amid the Trump administration's failure to disclose documents requested under the FOIA process, these concerns increased when DOE's political staff disregarded a publicized draft of the study created by career DOE staffers. The draft presented a realistic picture of the modern energy grid and how clean energy added to the grid's resilience, lowered customer costs, and contributed to the energy sector's growth.

"Study after study shows that clean energy resources like wind and solar add to the grid's resilience, lower costs for electricity consumers, and create thousands of jobs across the country. The secrecy around this grid study, coupled with the lack of input from stakeholders, have raised alarms for us, and we are concerned that Perry will seize this study and strip the science from it to justify not only curtailing clean energy's growth, but also forcing electricity customers to prop up uneconomical fossil fuel plants," Hitt said.

"The draft study captured the reality of what dozens of policy experts, engineers, and utility managers have been saying for years: wind and solar are helping keep the grid reliable and are powering growth in the the energy sector, and the coal and nuclear industries can no longer compete in the open market. If Perry has nothing to hide about interfering with these findings, he should prove it."

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Marco Bottigelli / Moment / Getty Images

By James Shulmeister

Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change.

If you have a question you'd like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz

Read More Show Less
Luxy Images / Getty Images

By Jo Harper

Investment in U.S. offshore wind projects are set to hit $78 billion (€69 billion) this decade, in contrast with an estimated $82 billion for U.S. offshore oil and gasoline projects, Wood Mackenzie data shows. This would be a remarkable feat only four years after the first offshore wind plant — the 30 megawatt (MW) Block Island Wind Farm off the coast of Rhode Island — started operating in U.S. waters.

Read More Show Less
Giacomo Berardi / Unsplash

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed both the strengths and limitations of globalization. The crisis has made people aware of how industrialized food production can be, and just how far food can travel to get to the local supermarket. There are many benefits to this system, including low prices for consumers and larger, even global, markets for producers. But there are also costs — to the environment, workers, small farmers and to a region or individual nation's food security.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Joe Leech

The human body comprises around 60% water.

It's commonly recommended that you drink eight 8-ounce (237-mL) glasses of water per day (the 8×8 rule).

Read More Show Less

By Michael Svoboda

The enduring pandemic will make conventional forms of travel difficult if not impossible this summer. As a result, many will consider virtual alternatives for their vacations, including one of the oldest forms of virtual reality – books.

Read More Show Less
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility on Thursday accused NOAA of ignoring its own scientists' findings about the endangerment of the North Atlantic right whale. Lauren Packard / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Julia Conley

As the North Atlantic right whale was placed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's list of critically endangered species Thursday, environmental protection groups accusing the U.S. government of bowing to fishing and fossil fuel industry pressure to downplay the threat and failing to enact common-sense restrictions to protect the animals.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Pexels

By Beth Ann Mayer

Since even moderate-intensity workouts offer a slew of benefits, walking is a good choice for people looking to stay healthy.

Read More Show Less