WASHINGTON, DC — Responding to Freedom of Information Act-related lawsuits by environmental groups, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released this week over 11,000 pages of documents regarding its meetings and development of the administration’s National Energy Policy last year.

The papers show that Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham had 36 meetings with energy industry representatives, according to the Washington Post. Also, the original draft of the energy policy had no section on environmental issues, environmentalists were not contacted until late in the development process, and they were then primarily instructed to supply written comments, sometimes within 24 hours, reported the Post. An environmental section was then added to the National Energy Policy report.

The administration has responded that it held at least one meeting with 10 environmental groups.

The DOE indicated that the energy policy included nine recommendations provided by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), an environmental group that had sued for access to the documents. A lawyer for the NRDC called the DOE assertion “an outright lie.”

Approximately 15,000 pages were not released by the DOE because officials cited security, privacy, and other concerns. There may be further lawsuits over these additional documents.

Publication date: 03/25 2002