Planet Gore

Too Much Secrecy From Obama’s EPA Nominee

The editors of the Washington Examiner write:

Gina McCarthy, President Obama’s nominee to succeed Lisa Jackson as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, should be rejected for a variety of reasons, but one in particular stands out. McCarthy — who has been EPA’s assistant administrator for the office of air and radiation since 2009 — too often operates behind closed doors in an agency with such immense regulatory powers that nothing less than maximum transparency is required to assure accountability.

A recent letter to McCarthy from Sens. David Vitter, R-La., and Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., points to an important example of McCarthy’s penchant for making major decisions out of the public eye. Vitter, who is the ranking minority member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and Sessions, the ranking minority member of the subcommittee on clear air and nuclear safety, want answers on McCarthy’s role in the EPA’s “sue and settle” deal on its “Startup, Shutdown and Malfunction” exemption rule. Essentially, the 40-year old SSM exempts emissions sources such as power plants from emissions compliance immediately after startup and shutdown and during malfunction periods.

The Sierra Club unsuccessfully sought SSM repeal for years. But then in the 2011 settlement of an entirely separate litigation, the EPA unilaterally and without public comment agreed to repeal SSM. As Vitter and Sessions explain in their letter to McCarthy, “EPA went out of its way to resolve the SSM petition in a coordinated settlement with the Sierra Club … These settlement agreements are often accomplished in a closed-door fashion that contravenes the executive branch’s solemn obligation to defend the law, avoids transparency and accountability, excludes impacted parties, and often results in the federal government paying the legal bills of these special interest groups at taxpayer expense.”

The rest here.

Most Popular

White House

Democrats in Peril

I will just make a prediction and try to keep out of the swamp of Trump-obsession as the weeks unfold. The anti-Trump movement is now in inexorable decline; it is a little like the Nixon defense forces after the Saturday Night drama in October 1973, with the departure of the attorney general, his deputy, and ... Read More
World

Canada Is Attacked Again

Media coverage of yesterday’s monstrous van attack in Toronto, which as of this writing is responsible for ten deaths and more than a dozen other casualties, was punctuated by political press conferences of the sort that are now an inescapable part of the dark theater of public tragedies. At his first ... Read More
World

Trump and the North Korean Tipping Point

The world has been stunned by North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s announcement last week that he was suspending his country’s nuclear tests in preparation for the impending meeting with President Trump. Even critics have had to concede that Trump’s bellicose rhetoric since last summer regarding the North ... Read More
Politics & Policy

E Pluribus . . . Gridlock

A mantra we hear everywhere these days is that diversity is a good thing. And no doubt, it is. Diversity facilitates an exchange of ideas and opinions, and it promotes economic growth. Moreover, the alternative to diversity is to suppress the views and opinions of some subset of citizens, which is completely ... Read More
Economy & Business

Trade Misunderstandings

I was distracted by other policy topics last week but not enough not to notice Peter Navarro’s article in the Wall Street Journal, headlined “China’s Faux Comparative Advantage.” Considering Navarro’s position in the White House, it is unfortunate that it demonstrates some serious misunderstandings ... Read More