Energy group sues Biden admin for stonewalling key information related to climate agenda

Energy watchdog head tells FOX Business group has given Biden admin 'every opportunity to provide records'

FIRST ON FOX: A Washington D.C.-based energy research group filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday, alleging that the Biden administration has improperly blocked information requests.

The Institute for Energy Research (IER) accused the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) of redacting factual, non-exempt information from record requests to protect its chairman Rich Glick, who President Biden has re-nominated for a second term, according to the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The group suggested the information may reveal Glick lied under oath during a Senate hearing when asked if he consulted the White House about a high-profile natural gas policy change earlier this year.

In response to record requests following Glick's testimony on March 3 that he didn't consult the White House, the IER received a FERC meetings calendar and emails between FERC and White House officials, both of which were heavily redacted. However, the group was able to ascertain that some redacted information was "purely factual information," not privileged as FERC said, after examining both the calendar and email exchanges.


For example, the emails showed FERC Commissioner Allison Clements requested an email with White House climate czar Gina McCarthy to "check in on some FERC items," but that this meeting was obscured on the calendars.

FERC chairman Richard Glick

Richard Glick, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission speaks during an energy conference on March 10.  (F. Carter Smith/Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)

"We have given FERC every opportunity to provide records confirming that Commissioner Glick and Commissioner Clements are not coordinating with the White House on the Biden Administration’s 'whole of government' approach to imposing a climate agenda despite lack of congressional instruction to do so," IER President Tom Pyle said in a statement to Fox News Digital. "So far, FERC has failed to give us anything probative."

"It’s sad, and it’s telling," Pyle continued. "People who have done no wrong usually don’t hide behind legal processes."


The IER initiated its record requests in March to investigate whether Glick was truthful when he denied coordinating with White House officials on the natural gas policy shift. Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., had asked the FERC chairman whether he communicated about the policy with "anyone higher up in the administration" during the March 3 hearing.

In February, FERC, the agency responsible for regulating energy projects and approving natural gas pipelines, announced it had updated its process for green-lighting pipelines. Under the proposal, which was heavily criticized by Republicans, FERC would consider the direct and indirect impacts of greenhouse gas emissions produced by future pipelines under review.

"Americans are struggling to keep up with soaring inflation, record high gasoline prices, and increasing utility bills," Pyle said. "FERC’s attempts earlier this year essentially would make it impossible to build any new natural gas pipelines would make things worse, especially for the poor, seniors, and people on fixed incomes."

Pyle also noted Biden's re-nomination of Glick to a second five-year term on FERC. He said the Senate should be made aware of whether Glick was being truthful under oath before moving forward with voting on the nomination.


The IER lawsuit asked the federal court to declare that FERC has violated the Freedom of Information Act and order the agency to disclose the requested records.

FERC didn't respond to a request for comment.