EDITORIAL: Environmentalist protection agency

A new leader has an opportunity to close an email pipeline

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There will be no breath of fresh air at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). On March 4, President Obama introduced Gina McCarthy, a veteran of the EPA bureaucracy, as his choice to run the 17,000-employee agency during his second term. Passing the baton to an insider is a signal that the administration stands behind its “anything goes” attitude in advancing the global-warming agenda.

As assistant administrator in charge of the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, Ms. McCarthy has been a key player in Mr. Obama’s scheme to craft “air-quality” rules that price coal plants out of existence and impose fuel-efficiency mandates to persuade Americans to trade in their SUVs for tiny European-style micro-cars.

Confirmation hearings will provide the perfect opportunity to quiz Ms. McCarthy about these important policy issues, and it’s even more important for senators to ask her whether she intends to put a stop to the practice of conducting official agency business where no one can see what her bureaucrats are doing.

On Friday, Sen. David Vitter, Louisiana Republican, said agency officials were playing games when they claimed a top colleague used his personal email for public business on only one occasion. Mr. Vitter produced several messages in which James Martin, who was the administrator for the EPA’s Region 8, used a private email account to coordinate with radical environmentalist organizations. On one occasion, he tells an Environmental Defense Fund official where new standards for monitoring greenhouse gases would have maximum impact.

Congressional investigators caught the aroma of the deceptive emails in December when they discovered that Lisa P. Jackson, then administrator of the agency, operated an email account using the alias “Richard Windsor.” Federal regulations require that official agency business be conducted with government email, since that makes it a matter of public record. A Freedom of Information Act request led the Justice Department to release a cache of 12,000 agency emails and soon after, Mrs. Jackson resigned. Mr. Martin followed her out the door last month after House and Senate committees opened a joint investigation into the email funny business.

This isn’t the first time the agency has aroused official scrutiny. As she ended her tenure as Bill Clinton’s EPA administrator in 2001, Carol Browner, the guru of green, ordered the erasure of her computer files, a government no-no. A district federal judge held this in contempt of a court order; Ms. Browner said she was not aware of the order.

Government agencies are obligated to serve the interests of all Americans, not just a favored few. When environmental regulators collude with radicals to drive up the price of an out-of-favor energy, they uncover a commitment to an ideology that betrays their duty to the people’s business. The result is the red carpet treatment for the green lobby and a locked door for all others.

If confirmed, Ms. McCarthy is expected to carry on the White House war on carbon dioxide, which has stifled economic growth. Ms. McCarthy should come clean in her dealings or else be remembered not as the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, but as administrator of the Environmentalist Protection Agency.

The Washington Times

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