POLITICS

Senators: EPA nominee has ignored most requests for transparency

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke

Gina McCarthy has ignored most of  questions about ending the “process of secrecy” at the Environmental Protection Agency, according to several senators tasked with reviewing her nomination to replace Lisa Jackson as EPA administrator.

“For too long EPA has failed to deliver on the promises of transparency espoused by President Barack Obama, former Administrator Lisa Jackson, and by you,” the eight Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee wrote to McCarthy today.   “Accordingly, we find particular interest in continuing to determine if EPA remains entrenched in a process of secrecy.”

The senators acknowledged McCarthy’s commitment that future EPA business would be conducted only on official email accounts, but faulted her for ignoring their request to see if she has dodged trasparency rules by using private email accounts for past EPA work.

The letter reminds McCarthy that Sen. David Vitter, R-La.,  asked “That all private email accounts of Regina McCarthy are exhaustively reviewed, and that all emails regarding official EPA business are produced unredacted to the committee,” during a recent meeting with the EPA nominee.  “If no such emails exist, that an affidavit stating that fact by McCarthy be produced for the committee.” The senators said that McCarthy was “wholly unresponsive” to this  request.

Similarly, she was “wholly unresponsive” to a request that the EPA reveal the scientific data underlying the rules they promulgate through the Clean Air Act. (McCarthy is currently the top air regulator at the agency.) She was also “wholly unresponsive” to the request that she promise to conduct cost/benefit analyses before publishing new rules.

The senators also asked McCarthy to ensure that she slow down, if not end, the practice of using lawsuits from environmentalist groups to implement new regulations, but they were not satisfied with her answer.

“Although EPA has agreed to publish notices of intent to sue, this does not provide adequate opportunity for impacted parties to have a say in settlement negotiations,” they wrote.  “Accordingly you have responded to only 25% of this request, which we consider as an insufficient response.”

McCarthy will appear for her Senate confirmation hearing tomorrow morning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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