EPW Republicans Question EPA Transparency on Administration's Litigation and Regulatory Actions
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, led all 10 Republican EPW Committee members in sending a letter Wednesday to Gina McCarthy, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), exposing EPA’s failure to keep commitments made to improve transparency about litigation and rulemaking petitions. The letter concludes with a request for information about EPA litigation and regulatory actions planned for the remainder of the Obama Administration. Such information is key to holding the administration accountable and increasing transparency and participation by states, businesses, and other stakeholders in litigation and regulatory actions that would bind the next administration.
“Given the impending presidential transition, it is imperative that Congress and the American public have a clear understanding of the ongoing litigation and the regulatory and administrative actions that may be underway or planned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or Agency). However, much of this important information is not publicly or readily available. Such a lack of transparency about EPA activities is especially concerning in light of the transparency commitments you made in 2013 to members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW or the Committee) during the Senate’s consideration of your nomination to serve as EPA Administrator,” the EPW Republican Members said in the letter.
The Senators continued, “…the Committee is equally concerned by the lack of transparency throughout EPA’s rulemaking process, especially at a time of administration transition. A transparent account of ongoing and planned regulatory actions is important not just for the incoming administration, but also for potentially impacted state, local, and tribal officials, job creators, and members of the public. . . the facts set forth in this letter raise significant questions regarding EPA’s credibility and the utility of the Unified Agenda and other public information about EPA’s regulatory plans.”
In response to concerns raised by EPW Republicans about the lack of public notice and input into closed-door legal settlements with environmental activist groups, EPA committed in 2013 to increase public transparency by posting on its website copies of rulemaking petitions and Notices of Intent to file lawsuits.
A recent review of EPA’s website found the EPA is no longer maintaining these website, and other recent EPA disclosures about its rulemaking plans are inaccurate and out of date.
In 2012, Inhofe sent a letter to President Obama raising concerns over the administration’s failure to be forthright with the public on its regulatory plans during an election year.
A recent review of EPA’s Unified Agenda and other public information reveals inconsistencies and gaps in EPA’s public reporting of its regulatory plans for the remainder of the administration.
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