EPA Defies Another Subpoena: ‘It May Create Erroneous Impressions’

In remarkable defiance of Congressional oversight, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has flatly declined to respond to a House Global Warming Committee subpoena. The subpoena for documents relating to the EPA’s refusal to obey the Supreme Court mandate to regulate greenhouse gases was issued by a unanimous, bipartisan vote on April 2, a year after the Supreme Court decision.

On April 11, the EPA requested and received an extension to respond, but today the agency has decided not to turn over the documents:
Grave Concerns

Whether or not the EPA has “grave concerns” about “erroneous impressions,” a “chilling effect,” and “institutional prerogatives,” these are not legally defensible reasons to defy a Congressional subpoena. In a terse response, Committee chair Ed Markey (D-MA) found the reasoning “unpersuasive.” The letter continues:

Subpoena Cloud

Of course, if the EPA simply turned over the documents, it would no longer be under such a “cloud.”

The EPA is also defying the House Oversight Committee’s subpoena for related documents on White House involvement. Behind this defiance of Congress is EPA assistant administrator Christopher P. Bliley — who was Jim Nussle’s chief of staff in Congress. As Think Progress reports, Nussle — now the head of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) — was dressed down today by Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) for his “snarky, scolding, dismissive” responses. Bliley evidently shares his mentor’s contempt for Congress.

UPDATE: Warming Law notes this defiance likely triggers contempt of Congress proceedings for EPA administrator Stephen Johnson.

UPDATE II: On Wednesday, Oversight Committee chair Henry Waxman (D-CA) issued a subpoena to the OMB to turn over documents related to White House interference in EPA smog standards.

View the full letter: EPA 4-16-08 Subpoena Response (PDF)

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