Don’t think we’ve forgotten about EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson. Because we haven’t. And neither has House sleuth Henry Waxman (D-CA).
Today Waxman issued a subpoena to compel the EPA to provide “unredacted” copies of a PowerPoint presentation Johnson’s staff made to him about California’s petition to limit greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks.
The presentation shows that Johnson’s staff recommended granting the petition. But Johnson ignored that and denied it anyway.
The EPA has been eager to keep the presentation away from the public’s eye, even invoking a kind of executive privilege against embarrassing documents (i.e. documents that show the staff recommending one thing and the administrator proclaiming another). The EPA refused to hand over the presentation to the Senate committee in its full glory and turned over mostly blank pages. The Senate committee staff was only able to see the actual documents by going to EPA offices and pulling white tape off of the offending portions.
Apparently Waxman doesn’t have patience for that sort of thing. So he’s issued a subpoena. The EPA is crying foul, fretful that the committee will turn the documents over to the 16 states and five environmental advocacy groups that are suing the agency over the decision. From the AP:
“What they’ve subpoenaed is to get control of documents that they have seen every word of. They know what it says,” [EPA spokesman Jonathan Shradar] said. “I’m not going to imply that they would turn them over to those currently in litigation, but that is a concern.”
Waxman has been interviewing EPA staff as a prelude to an eventual showdown with Johnson himself.