Hartford Courant | Op-ed by Rachael Lyle-Thompson | November 26, 2023
Under the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or state equivalents, including the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act, members of the public can demand previously unreleased documents and information from public entities. These laws are an important tool for holding governments accountable to the public they serve. But there are real holes in many state laws, including Connecticut’s FOIA, leaving little protection for climate scientists and other public researchers.
My organization, the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund, or CSLDF, recently released a bi-annual report, “Research Protections in State Open Records Laws,” to help scientists and lawyers understand open records demands. As it stands, individuals working for a number of organizations with ties to the fossil fuel industry and right-wing groups aggressively use open records laws to target climate researchers working at public institutions.