Eye on the EPA: How would Gina McCarthy Change EPA’s Questionable Transparency Practices for the Better?
A Closer Look at Gina McCarthy
Today the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee will hold a nomination hearing for Gina McCarthy, nominee to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and current EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation.
How would Gina McCarthy Change EPA's Questionable Transparency Practices for the Better?
The EPW Committee Republicans have released the following five unresolved transparency concerns (four of which remain unresolved) they have previously discussed with McCarthy and expect answers:
1. Request: The EPA will commit to a new guidance to ensure official business is conducted solely on official government e-mail accounts
• That the EPA issue a new guidance that clearly outlines a) standards and procedures to ensure that all official business is conducted solely on official government email accounts; and b) standards and procedures for responding fully, truthfully, and timely to FOIA requests and Congressional inquiries. The guidance document should also establish training regimes in these areas for all appropriate EPA staff, as well as penalties and procedures for dealing with deviations from the guidance.
2. Request: Release exchanges in which private e-mail accounts were used to conduct official business
• 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. If no such emails exist, that an affidavit stating that fact by McCarthy be produced for the committee. In addition, we are asking for transparency on specific documents the committee has obtained in unredacted form. An outline of specific emails that should have already been made available to the public and Congress was provided to EPA staff.
3. Request: Share the secret data that forms the basis of new rules and regulations
• That underlying data used to promulgate Clean Air Act rules be made public so the public can independently examine cost/benefit and other issues. That the EPA release a full set of data files for the American Cancer Society Study; the Harvard Six Cities Study; HEI/Krewski et al. 2009; Laden et al. 2006; Lepeule 2012; and Jerrett 2009. This request includes the coding of Personal Health Information (PHI).
4. Request: The EPA will provide written assurances that future rule-making will have cost-benefit analyses
• That written assurances be given the committee that the EPA will conduct cost/benefit analyses as required under various executive orders and as required by the CAA, Section 321(a), specifically through issuance of new guidance mandating "whole economy" modeling on major rules.
5. Request: That EPA make sue-and-settle public and make petitions for rulemaking or new guidance tracked, listed, and publicly available on the Agency's website and is regularly updated
• That all petitions for rulemaking or the promulgation of guidance received by the Agency, including by the Office of the Administrator and/or by the Office of General Counsel, be tracked, listed, and made publicly available, including copies of the documents, via readily available links on the Agency's website. This information is to be regularly updated. That all notices of intent to sue received by the Agency, including by the Office of the Administrator and/or by the Office of General Counsel be tracked, listed, and made publicly available, including copies of the documents, via readily available links on the EPA website. This information is to be regularly updated.
Click here to read the PDF version of the EPW Republican Senators' letter.