"Certain Automakers" Enter "Confidentiality Agreement" with State AGs in Lawsuit Over CA GHG Standards - Climate Litigation Watch

“Certain Automakers” Enter “Confidentiality Agreement” with State AGs in Lawsuit Over CA GHG Standards

Pact Hints at Other Dealmaking With Cooperative Automakers

Thanks to the transparency group Energy Policy Advocates (“EPA”), CLW has seen records of state attorneys general canoodling with “certain automakers” on a “CONFIDENTIALITY AGREEMENT REGARDING THE SHARING OF INFORMATION IN JOINT DEFENSE OF GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSION STANDARDS FOR VEHICLES AND ENGINES.”

This is among an absolute orgy of such attempts by AGs — sometimes with outside activists and even in support of the tort bar — to keep otherwise public records from the public (exempt or privileged records of course are exempt from disclosure, and require no agreement to exempt them). These deals are increasingly the subject of litigation.

The Trump administration is involved in litigation with California over that state’s ability to set national auto emission policy (the “waiver” issue), and reforms of absurd fuel economy standards, “The Most Obnoxious Regs of the Obama Era.” The litigation has set automakers such as Ford, Volkswagen, Honda, and BMW on the side of (impossible) standards and lighter, less safe if more expensive vehicles, and against other players including General Motors, Toyota and Fiat Chrysler.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute has challenged the new, tighter fuel economy standards as not accomplishing enough reform, arguing the administration should have stuck to the freeze it initially proposed.

Although apparently originally crafted for March 2017 agreement, one AG reveals that the pact was effective July 16, 2019, was last dated April 7, 2020, and was entered into by certain automakers on various dates between July 2019 and April 2020.

Original parties were the State of California, the California Air Resources Board, and the States of Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

One of numerous AG’s offices attempting to keep this and other pacts secret from the public has informed a court that the deal with “certain automakers” also “concerns the related sharing of information between the State and automaker parties meant to facilitate agreement resolving the rights and obligations of the parties with respect to State enforcement of greenhouse gas standards for motor vehicles.”

AG offices have banded together in numerous agreements to withhold public records on sensitive issues unless all AGs consent. Those pacts are the subject of extant and imminent litigation by EPA and others. This should not have to be.

Previously, after the same AGs pulled the same move for the Al Gore/”Climate RICO” push, the New York Supreme Court and Appellate Division both sided with the Competitive Enterprise Institute in ruling these secrecy pacts are not “common interest agreements,” and are not privileged.

Regardless, recently AG offices have agreed to a default position of forcing litigation over any public records request for correspondence pertaining to their coordinated efforts to advance the “climate” agenda — claiming the emails are shielded by the secrecy pacts. Meanwhile the AGs also refuse to release the pacts supposedly shielding the records — those are secret, too.