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For Immediate Release, July 12, 2010

Contact: Kierán Suckling, (520) 275-5960

Lawsuit Seeks Release of Interior Secretary Salazar's Communications With Oil Industry About Drilling

WASHINGTON— The Center for Biological Diversity today sued Interior Secretary Ken Salazar for not turning over emails, phone logs and meeting notes documenting his interaction with oil-industry lobbyists since becoming secretary of the interior.

The Center requested the public documents on May 18 under the Freedom of Information Act to uncover the extent of oil-industry involvement in Salazar’s decisions to: expand offshore oil drilling on the Atlantic Coast, eastern Gulf Coast and Alaska in March; challenge a court order vacating BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling project before it began; and approve hundreds of other offshore leases and drilling plans in the Gulf of Mexico. In violation of the Freedom of Information Act, Salazar has not yet responded to the request or provided any documents.

“Secretary Salazar has been cozy with the offshore drilling lobby for many years. There is no question that BP and other oil companies were integral to his decisions to expand offshore oil drilling. We want to know who Salazar was talking to, what was said, and what deals were made,” said Kierán Suckling, executive director of the Center.

“The Obama administration pledged to be open and transparent in its decision-making, but when it comes to meeting with oil industry lobbyists, this administration is as secretive as the Cheney-Bush White House,” said Suckling.

The suit, filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., seeks an immediate response to whether the government will release the information sought and prompt disclosure of the requested records.


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