A nonprofit is suing the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to obtain records that it argues “will inform the public of high-profile ethics revelations at OSTP and media coverage thereof,” including correspondence related to an OSTP event on “climate disinformation.”
In a lawsuit filed on May 5 in the D.C. District Court, Energy Policy Advocates (EPA) stated that it asked OSTP to provide correspondence and other documents it requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Those records include materials that the nonprofit says were produced for Politico’s Alex Thompson and discussed in Thompson’s article on billionaire Eric Schmidt’s influence over the Biden administration’s OSTP.
According to EPA, OSTP’s only response was a request for a minor formatting change.
“OSTP’s failure to simply turn over what it has already processed and produced to another party is inexplicable, at least outside of the White House. There literally is no excuse,” Matthew Hardin, a member of the EPA’s board, told The Epoch Times in an email.
Politico declined to comment on the complaint.
EPA is also seeking emails connected with OSTP’s February event on climate “denialism and delay,” which featured such speakers as Michael Mann.
Hardin characterized that roundtable as “more of a strange than sinister misuse of taxpayer resources, in seeking a social-science answer for why people continue to stand in their way.”
Specifically, EPA requested correspondence related to the event between former OSTP Director Eric Lander and Jane Lubchenco, who’s serving as OSTP’s first deputy director of climate and environment.
Lander, a mathematician and geneticist who leads the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, resigned from OSTP in February after admitting that he bullied his subordinates within the agency.
Lubchenco, a marine biologist at Oregon State University who also belongs to the OSTP’s new Scientific Integrity Task Force, has come under fire for a scientific ethics violation—she edited a paper written by some of her former coauthors, including her brother-in-law, University of California–Santa Barbara marine scientist Steven Gaines.
According to EPA, OSTP partially denied their FOIA request, redacting some information based on either personal privacy or the claim that it reflected “deliberative process.”
Hardin told The Epoch Times that he believes OSTP’s deliberative process objection was made “on what appear to be specious grounds.”
EPA’s lawsuit comes soon after the Department of Homeland Security announced the formation of a Disinformation Governance Board (DGB), to be led by Nina Jankowicz.
The push by Democrats and Big Tech against “disinformation,” “misinformation,” and “malinformation” has grown to encompass claims about climate change.
On Oct. 5, 2021, former Facebook Civic Integrity team member Frances Haugen testified to Congress that the social media company had “profited off spreading disinformation and misinformation and sowing hate.”
Just two days later, Google announced that it would ban ads and monetization for “content that contradicts well-established scientific consensus around the existence and causes of climate change.”
“This includes content referring to climate change as a hoax or a scam, claims denying that long-term trends show the global climate is warming, and claims denying that greenhouse gas emissions or human activity contribute to climate change,” the announcement reads.
On April 23, Twitter announced that “misleading advertisements on Twitter that contradict the scientific consensus on climate change are prohibited.”
Some activists have gone beyond pushing for steps such as demonetization by suggesting that “climate denial” could be defined as a crime.
In a 2019 article for the UNESCO Courier, University of Exeter professor Catriona McKinnon argued that “climate deniers” such as energy executive and former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson could be brought before the International Criminal Court for “postericide.”
The term “postericide” was invented by McKinnon, who defined it as “intentional or reckless conduct fit to bring about the extinction of humanity.”
“The damage that climate deniers do is heinous, and they have no excuses. The time has come to prosecute them for postericide,” McKinnon wrote in the U.N. publication.
Hardin said, “On the heels of the news about a ‘Disinformation [Governance] Board,’ it’s certainly a reasonable conclusion that this administration and its allies, including on Capitol Hill, seek to use the weight of the federal government to silence political speech in opposition to its ‘whole-of-government’ climate agenda. Whether that means attempts at criminalization or not, we shall see.”
In 2018, EPA received $45,910 from Government Accountability & Oversight PC, another nonprofit, to “help support their mission to seek to bring transparency to the realm of energy and environmental policy.”
Hardin also serves on the board of Government Accountability & Oversight PC.
Government Accountability & Oversight PC’s board members have included Chris Horner, an attorney and climate change skeptic who has received funding from the coal company Alpha Natural Resources.
“Like all nonprofits, Energy Policy Advocates is grateful for and respects the privacy of donors who support its work,” Hardin told The Epoch Times when asked about the organization’s financial supporters.
OSTP officials didn’t respond by press time to a request for comment.