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Energy Department Must Face Suit Over ‘Secretive’ Coal Council

April 6, 2021, 9:42 PM

The Department of Energy’s allegedly active role in a coal advisory corporation’s operations supports a lawsuit challenging its “secretive nature,” a Montana federal court said Tuesday.

The department argued the Western Organization of Resource Councils, which is made of local community organizations, can’t force the corporation to open its meetings and allow public access to records.

National Coal Council Inc. is non-governmental and formed by private individuals, so the Federal Advisory Committee Act’s disclosure requirements don’t apply, the department told the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana.

But the Secretary of Energy appoints the council’s membership, the WORC...

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