Energy Policy Advocates has filed its opening appellate brief in a Maryland Public Information Act case against the City of Baltimore, for the latter’s withholding of correspondence with two groups which lobbied the City to file its climate nuisance lawsuit against nearly two dozen companies.
Baltimore remarkably claimed that the activists behind the climate litigation industry, Union of Concerned Scientists and Center for Climate Integrity, were in fact “outside energy firms”, with which the City corresponded in considering whether to call them as experts in its litigation. Baltimore soon dropped that stance, without elaboration.
Without much elaboration of its own, the trial court nonetheless allowed the City to withhold the records.
Baltimore’s claim represents the far end of the spectrum of public offices reluctant to comply with their transparency obligations — even other Maryland jurisdictions that were so lobbied have not attempted this (yet). Energy Policy Advocates is asking the Maryland Court of Appeals to reverse the lower court’s conclusory ruling as inappropriate, or send it back to develop a factual record supporting this secrecy by a public agency working with outside lobbyists.
EPA’s argument can be read in their entirety here.