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Thursday, April 05, 2007

FOI delivers: BHP Billiton in US hot water

BHP Billiton probably isn't used to this sort of treatment in Australia.

This California blog has the story.

First of all, a Freedom of Information application in the US unearthed a chain of documents that reveal White House pressure on the Environmental Protection Agency to exempt the company from aspects of environmental laws in going ahead with a $700million investment in an offshore Liquefied Natural Gas port in California.

Now the influential Chairman of the powerful House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, California Democrat Henry Waxman, (who is also a prominent voice for FOI reform) has written to the company's Managing Director seeking copies of all documents concerning its dealings with the White House or EPA head office in Washington.

Waxman isn’t satisfied either with the EPA’s response to the Committee’s request for documents and has asked for urgent reconsideration of a decision to withhold some documents.

This report recounts the efforts by the Prime Minister and the Minister for Industry to get this proposal through all of the hoops in the US, and a recent article about the commencement of the investigation appeared in The Age.

Who knows what might show up as the Committee continues its investigation?

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