Baltimore Claims Green Groups Are "Consultants" in Climate Litigation - Climate Litigation Watch

Baltimore Claims Green Groups Are “Consultants” in Climate Litigation

In a somewhat unusual filing in response to a lawsuit filed by Government Accountability & Oversight, P.C., on behalf of the transparency group Energy Policy Advocates, the City of Baltimore claims that the Union of Concerned Scientists and/or the Center for Climate Integrity are “consultants” in the City’s contribution to the “climate nuisance” litigation wave sweeping the country.

This pleading was filed in an effort to avoid production of, inter alia, electronic correspondence, including also any attachments, a) sent to or from or copying (whether as cc: or bcc:) i) Suzanne Sangree, and/or Andre Davis, that b) includes, anywhere, whether in the sent, to, from, cc, bcc or Subject fields, or otherwise, including also in any attachments, or the body of an email including anywhere in an email “thread”, i), and/or ii), and c) is dated any time from October 1, 2017 through” the present.

About these emails, the City writes:

The City also withheld the correspondence between several of its attorneys and outside environmental firms under the attorney work product and deliberative process privileges, discussed supra. The correspondence Plaintiff requested from numerous City attorneys, including then City Solicitor Andre M. Davis, involved communication from these lawyers with outside environmental groups in connection with active litigation. …

correspondence undertaken by government agencies or agents with “outside consultants called upon by a government agency ‘to assist it in internal decision making’” is protected by Section 4-344 of the [Public Information Act].

Specifically, these environmental firms are outside consultants…Until such time as the government names one of these outside energy firms as a testifying expert, the correspondence and consultations between them and lawyers for the City are not be disclosed under the Maryland Rules and, therefore, are not unavailable to a private party in litigation with the City. ” 

For the record, Baltimore filed its suit on July 20, 2018.

The Center for Climate Integrity states that it is a project of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development (IGSD). IGSD has turned up in records illuminating the climate litigation industry (at that link, see FN 7, on page 12). It is described as part of the plaintiff’s tort bar network in amicus briefs submitted by EPA to the First Circuit and SCOTUS. Also,

“For example, in January, an Energy In Depth analysis of New York state tax disclosures found that [Rockefeller Family Foundation] gave the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development (IGSD) over $1 million to launch an aggressive climate litigation campaign against America’s top energy producers.”

When it comes to the climate litigation industry, it seems that RFF turns up, well, just about everywhere.