Senate EPW Takes Gina McCarthy to Task for Broken Promises

During the summer of 2013, the Senate considered Gina McCarthy’s nomination to become head of the EPA. In the course of this deliberation, Republicans on the Environment and Public Works Committee pressed McCarthy about the lack of public notice and input into closed-door legal settlements with environmental activist groups—known as “sue-and-settle.”

Before gaining a vote on her nomination, McCarthy promised to increase public transparency by posting on EPA’s website copies of rulemaking petitions and Notices of Intent to file lawsuits, which are the precursor actions to a sue-and-settle deal. Unfortunately, McCarthy failed to deliver on her word.

On Wednesday, all 10 Republican EPW Committee members brought McCarthy’s broken promise to light, by sending a letter the EPA asking why the agency has failed to keep its commitments 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.