A Montana power plant owner has sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to prevent the agency under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI A) from releasing two groups of data concerning upgrades at a power plant near Billings. PPL Montana, LLC v. Jackson, No. N/A (D. Mont. filed 4/22/12). According to the complaint, plaintiff would suffer irreparable harm if EPA grants the Sierra Club and Montana Environmental Information Center’s FOI A request for data on capital improvements at the power plant.  

Plaintiff argues that the data sought is exempt from disclosure under FOI A because it constitutes confidential “trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person.” The owner further argues that “competitors will be able to effectively use the aggregated information about capital improvements over a 24-year period to make strategic decisions about pricing and market penetration.” Plaintiff seeks an injunction blocking EPA from releasing the data, which were originally provided to EPA in response to information requests under the Clean Air Act.