News | Monthly Update

June 2022 Update: CSLDF-Highlighted Legal Resources, WV v. EPA & Summer Match

CLSDF-Highlighted Resource: Open Record Guides

From January to June, CSLDF has helped 34 scientists, researchers, and professors with a wide range of legal issues—from political and industry harassment to defamation and employment concerns. Most recently, we have been approached by a significant number of scientists who have been targeted with invasive open records requests.

Read our open record guides, which help scientists and lawyers understand how state open records laws treat research materials:

  • Research Protections in State Open Records Laws: An Analysis and Ranking – this report is the first in-depth analysis of the existing protections for scientific records, and their applications, in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. It is intended to help scientists and attorneys understand the best way to manage and respond to a FOIA request, and encourage policymakers to consider the special issues of scientific transparency and enact policies that protect these important materials.
  • A Guide to Open Records Laws and Protections for Research Materials – this guide highlights categories of research records that may be vulnerable to an invasive open records request and lists areas where there are ambiguities. It also describes examples of how that state has treated specific records in the past.

If you are a scientist facing similar requests or other legal challenges, please fill out our new client intake form here.

Anticipated SCOTUS decision on West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency

The Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency in the very near future. This case involves a challenge brought by several Republican-led states against the Clean Power Plan, which sought to limit climate change-causing emissions from fossil-fueled power plants under a provision of the Clean Air Act. More specifically, the case concerns whether the EPA has broad authority to establish programs for controlling emissions by addressing the power sector’s contributions to climate change.

CSLDF and others fear that the Court’s conservative majority will likely resolve this case in a way that will leave agencies with inadequate authority to exercise independent discretion when implementing regulatory programs, thereby gutting regulation driven by subject matter-expertise. Even in cases where agency experts are able to exercise a little bit of discretion, activist judges would be freer to second-guess those decisions, upholding only those that align with their policy preferences. Science-based policymaking would be displaced by politics, and efforts to protect the public would be hampered.

Double Your Donation and Impact this Summer!

2022 has us on track to double the number of scientists we’d usually serve and your help right now is vital to protect scientists as they develop solutions to combat climate change.

Thanks to a group of generous supporters, your gift will be matched up to $25k. 

Please make a gift today to defend climate researchers.

Beyond direct legal assistance, your support today also provides educational materials and events for climate scientists, including programming specifically related to science advocacy, and updated political advocacy guides which will be critical as midterm elections approach.

We thank our generous donors who have contributed so far. You help keep our mission of defending science on track in this critical time!

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