CEI v. State Department

In September 2017, in response to mounting information about the role of outside influence in developing the controversial Paris climate treaty, CEI submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for records relating to three top former officials in the Obama administration State Department. These requests included correspondence pertaining to two officials’ work with two named environmentalist pressure groups which, records show, the officials had particularly close relationships in developing the pact. The officials are former Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern and former “climate change legal advisor” Sue Biniaz.

The requests also sought certain emails and attachments pertaining to Mr. Stern’s and Ms. Biniaz’s roles in developing the Paris treaty’s “legal form”, including State’s Circular 175 process and memo. Circular 175 establishes a procedure for determining whether a proposed international agreement should be negotiated as a treaty requiring Senate advice and consent through the Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution.

Finally, the requests sought Stern and Biniaz correspondence with former State Department Director of Policy Planning Jake Sullivan.

To date, State has provided none of the required demonstration it is processing CEI’s request. With the list of stonewalls, including but not limited to litigation, which the Trump administration has yet to address, CEI filed suit Monday, October 2, 2017 to seek prompt production of records that could prove critical in the ongoing fight to get President Trump to reverse his June 1, 2017 pledge to withdraw from Paris.