Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) has filed a complaint in federal court under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), seeking documents from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) related to the development of policies to protect scientific integrity in federal agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration. PEER v. OSTP, No. n/a (U.S. Dist. Ct., D.D.C., filed October 19, 2010).

According to the complaint, President Barack Obama (D) issued an executive order in March 2009, requiring the development of such rules by July. They have not yet been promulgated. OSTP Director John Holdren reportedly wrote online in June 2010 that the “process has been more laborious and time-consuming than expected,” and that an interagency panel has developed draft recommendations for OSTP and Office of Management and Budget review.

Representatives from the latter two offices “have been honing a final set of recommendations” in the intervening months, said Holdren. PEER sought the panel’s recommendations, position papers and interagency communications under FOIA from OSTP, but claims that the White House has failed to respond and thus, has violated FOIA deadlines. The organization seeks an order requiring that the documents be disclosed.

PEER Executive Director reportedly said, “Why is the development of transparency policy cloaked in secrecy? The public should know which agencies oppose a presidential directive to stop politicizing science and why.” See PEER News Release, October 19, 2010.