CEI Lawsuit Targets White House Polar Vortex Documents

WASHINGTON – Today, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) filed a lawsuit against the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), seeking documents related to that agency’s controversial video, The Polar Vortex Explained in 2 Minutes. The video, released in January, attempted to blame global warming for the unusually cold winter weather. However, it was widely criticized by scientists on both sides of the climate change debate. Despite OSTP Director John Holdren’s claim that a “growing body of evidence” supports the connection between extreme cold and global warming, a number of published peer-reviewed studies disputed the claim.

CEI petitioned OSTP to correct its claim under the federal Information Quality Act. But the agency denied the petition, claiming that Dr. Holdren’s statement was a “personal opinion” that was exempt from the law. CEI then filed a Freedom of Information Act request for documents related to the video’s production, but the agency refused to disclose most of those records because they were supposedly part of the agency’s “deliberative process.”

“If this video really represented Dr. Holdren’s personal opinion, then it’s bad enough that OSTP spent taxpayer dollars to produce and post it on the White House web site,” said CEI general counsel Sam Kazman stated. “But for the agency to refuse to disclose documents related to the video in order to protect what it claims are internal deliberations is doubly ridiculous. Perhaps OSTP should give us a new video titled ‘The Holdren Document Vortex Explained in 2 Hours.’”
CEI is also pursuing another suit against OSTP, alleging that Dr. Holdren used a personal email account to conceal agency documents that are subject to the Freedom of Information Act.
Mr. Kazman stated, “Our latest lawsuit indicates yet again that, despite this administration’s claims of transparency, its real interest is invisibility.”

View the full complaint here.