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ICYMI: Vitter, Issa Threaten to Subpoena EPA Over Unfulfilled Information Requests
June 28, 2013

Bloomberg BNA

Vitter, Issa Threaten to Subpoena EPA Over Unfulfilled Information Requests
By Andrea Vittorio | June 27, 2013


(BNA) -- Key Development: Sen. Vitter and Rep. Issa threaten to subpoena EPA unless it provides documents and communications requested over the past several months.

What's Next: Vitter and Issa give the agency until noon on June 28 to voluntarily comply with repeated requests for information on alias email accounts and other issues.

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) threatened June 27 to subpoena the Environmental Protection Agency unless it provides documents and communications requested over the past several months.

Vitter and Issa gave the agency until noon on June 28 to voluntarily comply with repeated requests for information about EPA's use of alias email accounts, the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska, and other issues. If EPA does not comply, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which Issa chairs, will consider using a "compulsory process," meaning a subpoena, a committee spokeswoman told BNA.

"While EPA initially indicated they would cooperate, it appears that these efforts have been abandoned," the two said in a letter to EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe. "EPA's failure to cooperate with the Committees' oversight effort is unacceptable."

Vitter is the top Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

The committee has the authority to subpoena an agency to provide documents or appear before the committee to provide testimony under House Rule X, which allows the committee "at any time" to "conduct investigations of any matter."

Vitter and Issa have received confirmation from EPA that it received the letter. EPA did not return a request for comment.

Subpoena to Target Emails, Mine

Vitter and Issa have been investigating email practices at the agency after learning of an alias account used by former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson under the name "Richard Windsor."

The potential subpoena would demand information listed in an April 10 letter to Gina McCarthy, nominee to lead EPA and current assistant administrator for air and radiation.

The letter set an April 24 deadline for providing information that had previously been requested by Congress or under the Freedom of Information Act. Among the topics targeted by the letter were EPA's use of nonofficial email accounts and the development of EPA's Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment analyzing potential impacts from large-scale mining.

Vitter and other Republican senators have urged EPA to abandon the watershed assessment because it relies on "biased reports authored by Pebble Mine opponents" (114 DER A-39, 6/13/13).

On April 25, Vitter and Issa agreed with EPA to identify their highest priority documents, which included 106 emails previously released in redacted form. Those emails also would be identified in the subpoena....

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