ICYMI: After EPA Agreements on Transparency Requests, Key Senator Drops Filibuster Threat on Obama's Nominee
July 9, 2013
Today, U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) announced major agreements from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regarding 5 transparency requests EPW Republicans have been demanding throughout the Gina McCarthy nomination process. Click here to read more.
The top Republican on the Senate's environment committee on Tuesday dropped his threat to filibuster President Obama's nomination of Gina McCarthy to run the Environmental Protection Agency.
The move by Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), who said he won "huge" EPA commitments to be more open with data, comes as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has threatened to change Senate rules to ease passage of stalled nominations.
"I've had very productive conversations with EPA over the last several weeks, and believe the agency has taken significant steps forward on our five transparency requests," Vitter said in a statement Tuesday.
"These are huge, significant steps forward to bringing transparency to the agency, and I see no further reason to block Gina McCarthy's nomination, and I'll support moving to an up-or-down vote on her nomination," he added.
McCarthy is EPA's top air pollution regulator. Vitter's action brings the Senate a step closer to a vote on the nomination, which the White House first sent to the Senate four months ago.
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and an aide to Reid said earlier on Tuesday that a vote on McCarthy could come next week.
Vitter and several other Republicans have blocked McCarthy as leverage in their quest for more "transparency" from EPA.
Vitter's office said Tuesday that EPA made several commitments.
They include mandatory retraining of over 17,000 workers on public records law, and creating new websites that show, upon receipt, when outside groups are petition or issue a notice to sue the agency.
Republicans have been attacking what they contend is an un-transparent, "sue and settle" technique of policymaking.
He also claimed victories on EPA's use of data.
"EPA has initiated the process of obtaining the requested scientific information, as well as reaching out to relevant institutions for information on how to de-identify and code personally identifying information that may be in any of the data. For the first time we should be able to determine if there is any way of independently re-analyzing the science and benefits claims for a suite of major air regulations," Vitter's office said in a summary of what it called new commitments from EPA.