That’s how long the Environmental Protection Agency has to “promptly perform a search and produce the documents” in its possession that underpin Administrator Scott Pruitt’s claim that human activity is not a “primary contributor” to the climate crisis, and any studies that support that assertion.
The directive comes from a federal court order (pdf), issued Friday, which smacks down the EPA’s efforts to reject a FOIA request from Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).
The group first filed that request on March 10, 2017—that’s a day after Pruitt, speaking in his official capacity, said on CNBC: “I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do and there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact, so no, I would not agree that it’s a primary contributor to the global warming that we see.”
Beryl Howell, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, dismissed the EPA’s characterization of the FOIA request as “an interrogation” with “simply a reach too far.” Instead, she wrote, it was a fair request that reasonably describes the records sought and creates no undue burden, so the EPA is not legally justified in its lack of compliance.
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