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Sierra Club Sues DOE For Sources Used In Electric Grid Study

The U.S. Energy Department’s newly commissioned study on the national electric grid hit a new legal road block this week when a green group filed a lawsuit against the agency to reveal the third parties consulted on the study, according to a new report by Reuters.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry ordered the 60-day study back in April to determine whether the Obama-era environmental regulations had burdened baseload power plants, most commonly powered by nuclear energy and fossil fuels. The policies had been designed to encourage wind and solar capacity across the country, in accordance with the international push to save the planet from the effects of climate change.

"We want to make sure that when this study is finally released, that the public and policy makers fully understand how it went about doing it, who they were influenced by, and whose views they did not take into consideration," Sierra Club lawyer Casey Roberts told Reuters.

The suit, filed on Monday, alleges that the department ignored a Freedom of Information Act request on the study filed back in May. The Sierra Club had filed the FOIA to determine whether the department had relied on data supplied heavily by backers of coal, oil, and natural gas.

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The Energy Department did not respond immediately to Reuters request for comment. The report had been due to come out in July, but its release has been pushed back, with no clear timeline for future publication.

In the study’s official announcement, Perry wrote that the study should evaluate “the extent to which continued regulatory burdens, as well as mandates and tax and subsidy policies, are responsible for forcing the premature retirement of baseload power plants,” among other things, according to an article by The Hill. “The result of this analysis will help the federal government formulate sound policies to protect the nation’s electric grid.”

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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