In an effort to hold the United States\u0026#039; development bank accountable for financing \u0022climate-damaging\u0022 international projects, a trio of environmental organizations filed suit Wednesday over the Trump administration\u0026#039;s attempt to exempt it from a key federal government transparency law.\r\n\r\n\u0022The DFC should be using the power of the U.S. purse to build clean and renewable energy opportunities, while holding itself accountable to the public as the Sunshine Act clearly requires.\u0022\r\n—Kate DeAngelis, Friends of the Earth\r\n\r\nCongress passed the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development (BUILD) Act in 2018, creating the United States International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) by merging the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and U.S. Agency for International Development\u0026#039;s Development Credit Authority.\r\n\r\nAlthough DFC adopted the regulations of OPIC, the new agency declared in an April 2020 rule that the Sunshine Act \u0022is not applicable to DFC.\u0022 The groups behind the lawsuit—the Center for Biological Diversity, Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), and Friends of the Earth—disagree.\r\n\r\n\u0022This is an easy one for the Biden administration,\u0022 said Bill Snape, senior counsel with the Center for Biological Diversity and lead lawyer on the legal filing, in a statement. \u0022Congress intended this new agency to be open to the public and follow the Sunshine Act. While the Trump administration used the agency to favor its special interest benefactors like the oil and gas industry, our lawsuit says \u0026#039;no more.\u0026#039; This agency needs sunshine, and it needs it now.\u0022\r\n\r\nFiled in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the suit (pdf) seeks a finding that the institution is violating not only the Sunshine Act but also the Administrative Procedure Act. The former, passed in 1976, states that \u0022every portion of every meeting of an agency shall be open to public observation,\u0022 meaning that the subject, time, and date of meetings are announced at least a week in advance and minutes or transcripts along with relevant records are made public.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\u0022Over decades of work, CIEL has witnessed the importance of transparency for communities on the ground,\u0022 said CIEL\u0026#039;s Carla García Zendejas. \u0022Time and time again, we have seen that the Sunshine Act meetings are a vital lifeline in securing access to information about the DFC\u0026#039;s decision-making processes.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022This is particularly evident in the Maipo region of Chile. The community has spent years calling on OPIC to take action in the Alto Maipo Hydroelectric Project,\u0022 she explained. \u0022As the construction is underway and the livelihoods of the Maipo River Valley residents are at risk, transparency and accountability at the DFC are more important than ever.\u0022\r\n\r\nZendejas added that \u0022CIEL—and our partners around the world—expect more from the corporation, which is meant to finance development in a way that builds and strengthens civic institutions, while providing for public accountability and transparency.\u0022\r\n\r\nAs Kate DeAngelis of Friends of the Earth put it: \u0022The new U.S. International Development Finance Corporation must be a part of the climate solution, not the problem.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022The DFC should be using the power of the U.S. purse to build clean and renewable energy opportunities, while holding itself accountable to the public as the Sunshine Act clearly requires,\u0022 she continued. DeAngelis also highlighted foreign projects that have generated concerns.\r\n\r\n\u0022The DFC\u0026#039;s support of disastrous liquified natural gas development in Mozambique and fracking projects in Argentina are prime examples of why this agency needs more sunshine,\u0022 she said. \u0022As an international organization, Friends of the Earth is acutely aware of the need to stop exporting our pollution and problems to other countries.\u0022\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nIn April, President Joe Biden marked Earth Day with a Leaders Summit on Climate and\u0026nbsp; released an International Climate Finance Plan that disappointed some progressives. The White House said at the time that DFC \u0022will update its development strategy to not only include climate for the first time, but also to make investments in climate mitigation and adaptation a top priority.\u0022\r\n\r\nAs Biden hosted the summit, DFC committed to increasing climate-focused investment and getting its portfolio to net-zero emissions by 2040.\r\n\r\nSnape said Wednesday that \u0022although President Biden\u0026#039;s DFC has committed itself to \u0026#039;net-zero emissions through its investment portfolio by 2040,\u0026#039; the agency still lags badly behind other countries\u0026#039; development agencies and is still promoting dirty shale gas and oil throughout the world.\u0022\r\n\r\nLast month, 13 lawmakers led by Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) sent a letter urging President Joe Biden to direct federal agencies including DFC to \u0022end all new public financing support for fossil fuel projects overseas within 90 days.\u0022\r\n\r\nThe letter came a day after the International Energy Agency warned that countries must immediately transition from fossil fuels to renewable power sources.