FOIA

Hosts Richard Morrison and Jeremy Lott welcome guest William Yeatman to Episode 94 of the LibertyWeek podcast. We examine Chris Horner’s recent freedom of information requests to the University of Virginia, over key Climategate figure Michael Mann. Segment starts approximately 5 minutes in.

Your host Richard Morrison teams up with collaborators Jeremy Lott and William Yeatman to bring you Episode 72 of the LibertyWeek podcast. We begin with UN climate hypocrisy in Copenhagen, presidential arm-twisting on health care and a cloudy look at government transparency. We conclude with the end of the tobacco road in Virginia and scandal of banking and nepotism in Venezuela.

The Obama administration is sending mixed messages on energy policy.  On the one hand, Obama’s top budget guru Peter Orszag told Congress last year that a cap-and-trade is designed to raise the price of energy.  On the other, the President says a cap-and-trade would spur economic growth.

Taxes and economic growth are mutually exclusive, so it seems as if President Obama is trying to have his cake and eat it, too.

To understand what the Obama administration is really thinking about energy policy, CEI’s Chris Horner filed a Freedom of Information Act request charging the Treasury Department to release all internal communications regarding cap-and-trade.

The Treasury Department responded on September 11th with 5 redacted documents, which were then released to the public by the Competitive Enterprise Institute. CBS news reporter Declan McCullagh picked up the FOIA story and the eye-popping cost estimates-”equal in scale to all existing environmental regulation”-soon attracted massive media attention.

It turns out that those were only the low-end cost estimates. On September 18th, the Treasury Department released unredacted and previously withheld documents. These memos suggest that cap-and-trade costs would be “equal in size to the corporate income tax.”

Is there more? That’s a fair question in light of the Treasury Department’s suspicious partial disclosure on September 11th. It’s also curious that Treasury failed to include any e-mails. I would think that economic analysis of a major policy would have generated a few e-mails up and down the chain of command. After all, this is a federal bureaucracy-nothing is spontaneous in a federal bureaucracy.

To find out what the Obama administration is hiding, Mr. Horner today informed the Treasury Department of CEI’s “intent to sue” if Treasury does not come into compliance with its legal obligations under the Freedom of Information Act.

If President Barack Obama is serious about open and transparent government, he should press Treasury to release all communications on cap-and-trade. Only then will we know what energy rationing actually costs.

To see Mr. Horner’s letter informing the treasury Department of CEI’s intent to sue, click here.

CEI’s Chris Horner used the Freedom of Information Act to uncover internal documents from the Obama administration in which Treasury Department officials admit that a cap-and-trade would impose a steep energy tax on American families.

The Treasury Department’s admission contradicts claims by Democratic leadership that a cap-and-trade energy rationing scheme would boost the economy. In fact, a massive new energy tax (Department officials suggest that a cap-and-trade would cost consumers hundreds of billions of dollars) would depress economic growth by increasing utility bills and gasoline prices.

CEI long has warned Americans that policies to fight so-called global warming would harm American consumers and businesses by increasing energy costs. It’s great to see that Obama’s Treasury Department agrees.

To read more about these internal documents, read this Planet Gore blog post by Chris Horner, and this write-up by the Washington Times’s Amanda Carpenter.