Boxer Chastises EPA Administrator For Redacting Documents With Duct Tape: ‘I’m Worked Up’

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"Boxer Chastises EPA Administrator For Redacting Documents With Duct Tape: ‘I’m Worked Up’"

In December, EPA administrator Stephen Johnson rejected “California’s long-standing request for a waiver from federal law to be able to implement its own landmark regulations to slash greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.”

Today, Johnson came under harsh criticism from Environment and Public Works Committee chairwoman Barbara Boxer. She blasted Johnson for refusing come to California and meet with residents, and for censoring documents with white duct tape on the EPA’s decision-making process:

Colleagues, this is the tape, this is the tape that was put over — finally the administration had a way to use duct tape. This administration, this is what they did to us. They put this white tape over the documents and staff had to stand here. It’s just unbelievable. [...]

I mean what a waste of our time. This isn’t national security. This isn’t classified information, colleagues. This is information the people deserve to have. And this is not the way we should run the greatest government in the world. It does not befit us. So that’s why I’m worked up about it and think we have been treated in a very shabby way.

Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2008/01/boxerjohnsonepa.320.240.flv]

Yesterday, Boxer released excerpts from an October presentation, revealing that Johnson had ignored the advice of EPA staff who were in favor of granting California the waiver. The excerpts came out after Boxer’s staff removed the duct tape from the documents and transcribed handwritten notes, under the supervision of EPA staffers.

As Boxer noted, after all this time, looks like the Bush administration finally found a use for its duct tape.

UPDATE: TPMmuckraker has more from the hearing.

Transcript:

BOXER: Well, since Sen. Inhofe went over about 30 seconds and I had 27 seconds left, I’m going to use the remainder of my time before I turn to colleagues to respond.

Let’s be clear. This is the first time a waiver has ever been denied outright 50 times. And I ask the administrator to please come. I asked him in friendship to please come to California, to please face the people who he had turned down and explain to them why. Gov. Schwarzenegger sent a representative there. The Attorney General was there. There were citizens there, colleagues. The fact is, Mr. Johnson refused to come.

So I said ok, you can’t come. Could you send someone else? No. No one else. Could you send documents if no person can come? No. There were no documents.

And in my — in all the years I have been around, I have not seen a committee treated this way. And Sen. Inhofe says that he was treated this way or the committee was by the Clinton administration. I can truly say that I don’t recall that, but if it was so, it was wrong then and it’s wrong now.

As I say, I think it’s important to put in the record that we asked him to come because we thought it would be a benefit to the people, because the people need to understand why this happened. I said before I’d show you the kind of lack of cooperation we had.

Colleagues, this is the tape, this is the tape that was put over — finally the administration had a way to use duct tape. This administration, this is what they did to us. They put this white tape over the documents and staff had to stand here. It’s just unbelievable. And pull off out of the sentences here.

I mean what a waste of our time. This isn’t national security. This isn’t classified information, colleagues. This is information the people deserve to have. And this is not the way we should run the greatest government in the world. It does not befit us. So that’s why I’m worked up about it and think we have been treated in a very shabby way.

I would call on Sen. Lieberman. Senator, we have four minutes.

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