Transparency Watch

Report from U.S. Senate committee claims EPA lacks transparency


Minority members of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee released a report on Sept. 9, 2013 claiming that the EPA has "a dismal history of competently and timely responding to FOIA requests," has failed to adequately train staff members on FOIA policies, has shown bias in deciding to honor fee waiver requests, and has misused email accounts. 

Central to the committee's complaints is former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson's use of a secondary email account and occasional use of a fake alias to respond to emails.  Jackson also used a personal account to correspond with a lobbyist from Siemens Corporation.  Jackson has said the secondary email account was common practice for managing large amounts of email.   

The EPA Inspector General is currently reviewing the agency's FOIA policies and responses and employees are being retrained in FOIA policies under current EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.

Some of the members of the committee filing the report receive their largest campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry and from agribusiness.  Environmental groups have also filed complaints during this time, but some states claim these legal actions were coordinated by the EPA to change regulations. 

Read the report below:

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