Tom Cruise Biofuel

Environmental Groups Sue European Union, enlist Tom Cruise (not)

Four environmental groups are suing the regulator of the 27-nation European Union for lack of transparency on its biofuels policy.

The lawsuit was filed today in the European Union’s General Court in Luxembourg by ClientEarth, Transport and Environment, the European Environmental Bureau and BirdLife International, the groups said in an e-mailed statement.

The suit “challenges the commission’s failure to release documents containing previously undisclosed information on the negative climate impacts of widespread biofuels use in the European Union,” according to the statement.

The EU requires at least 10 percent of energy for road and rail transport in 2020 to come from renewable sources in every member country. Biofuels offer the prospect of reducing the use of fossil fuels blamed for climate change. They also help the EU to diversify its energy mix and lessen dependency on oil- and natural-gas-producing countries.

Marlene Holzer, a spokeswoman for EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger, wasn’t immediately available to comment.

Today’s lawsuit is the second by the four groups, which started legal action against the EU’s Brussels-based regulator on March 8 over its refusal to release documents revealing the negative consequences of biofuels production, including the conversion of forests and other natural areas into cropland. The first suit is ongoing.


Biofuel Policy

“Our efforts to understand and influence EU biofuel policy have been repeatedly hampered by attempts to restrict access to documents,” Tim Grabiel, a lawyer at ClientEarth, said in the statement. “The commission is running an opaque operation. Citizens are being denied the right to participate in decisions that affect flagship climate policies and will not only affect their lives but those of future generations as well.”

The EU legislation with the 10 percent target for renewable energy in land transport also aims to raise the share of green energy including wind and solar power in the EU to an average 20 percent by 2020. The 20 percent average goal in the bloc’s law is also based on varying general renewable-energy targets for individual member states.

Separately, ClientEarth is suing EU governments for “the refusal to release a key document about the review of EU transparency rules,” according to the statement.

Source Bloomberg