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Administration Sued Over National Assessment
Four members of the Cooler Heads Coalition, three members of Congress, and one individual filed suit in federal court on October 3 to have the National Assessment on Climate Change declared as unlawfully produced. The plaintiffs are the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Consumer Alert, 60 Plus Association, Heartland Institute, Representative Joe Knollenberg (R-Mich.), Jo Ann Emerson (R-Missouri), Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), and David Wojick, Ph.D., P.E.
The defendants named in the lawsuit are the chairman of the National Science and Technology Council, President Bill Clinton, and the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Neal Lane. These two entities have ultimate control over the National Assessment Synthesis Team.
At press time, a well-placed source reported to Cooler Heads that the White House was “deeply concerned” by the lawsuit, was considering ordering that the NACC be released immediately, and had asked environmental pressure groups to protest at a press conference to be held by the plaintiffs at the House triangle on the Capitol’s grounds on October 5 at 1:30 p.m. Cooler Heads has not been able to confirm this report.
Several government scientists have told Cooler Heads privately over the past few months that they were under strong pressure to toe the White House’s alarmist line on global warming in preparing the NACC.
“In President Clinton’s capacity as the chairman of the National Science and Technology Council, he is ultimately responsible for producing and maintaining the legal integrity of any documents or reports it releases,” commented Christopher C. Horner, the attorney for CEI who filed the complaint.
The lawsuit alleges the following violations:
· Multiple Violations of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA); specifically, holding unlawfully closed meetings and conducting meetings in the absence of the required Designated Federal Officer.
· Violations of the US Global Change Research Act (USGCRA); including a wrongful directive from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy that the Council unlawfully expand its work outside the scope of its applicable statutory authority, and delve into non-scientific, political areas.
· Violation of Public Law 106-74. This law prohibited the expenditure of appropriated money in order to release or publish this report prior to completing the underlying science, making the Council’s findings available to all parties and subjecting its work to peer review.
Despite repeated private and congressional requests to comply with these requirements, the Council has aggressively refused, due to a calculation that releasing the Assessment in October will have maximum political value.
As a remedy, the plaintiffs request that the court declare the following actions unlawful under FACA, USGCRA, and Public Law 106-74:
· Utilizing any product of any Synthesis Team meeting attended by either FACA violation;
· Utilizing any draft or final National Assessment until such time as these violations are remedied;
· Dedicating further expense or effort on the basis of such Assessment until these violations are remedied;