EPA email: Goal was ‘shaming’ states into compliance

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Internal EPA emails released Tuesday show an agency hostile to new energy production in the U.S. and an effort at “shaming” states into complying with Obama administration environmental priorities, according to the top Republican on the Senate environment committee.

The emails could end up causing problems for Gina McCarthy, an assistant administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency who was tapped by President Obama to become overall administrator, succeeding Lisa P. Jackson, who announced her resignation this year.

In a letter to Ms. McCarthy on Tuesday, Sen. David Vitter, Louisiana Republican, and four Republican colleagues asked her to explain her connections to Al Armendariz, who resigned last year as EPA’s Region 6 administrator after saying he wanted to “crucify” oil and gas companies he believed were violating the law.

Mr. Vitter also released some of Mr. Armendariz’s emails, obtained in a broader investigation of EPA emails, and released several portions Tuesday showing Mr. Armendariz was pleased with rules and restrictions EPA was pursuing on power generation.

“We have set things in motion, including empowering and shaming the states, to clean up the oil/gas sector,” Mr. Armendariz said in the email. “Further progress is inevitable. I am extremely proud of the work that we have done collectively. Gina’s new air rules will soon be the icing on the cake, on an issue I worked on years before my current job.”

The “Gina” referred to is apparently Ms. McCarthy.

Mr. Vitter said the emails were evidence of “a broader effort at EPA to coerce the states and to constrain the domestic fossil fuel industry with layers of bureaucratic red tape and intimidation tactics.”

The EPA did not return calls for comment Tuesday.

The EPA’s use of emails has come under scrutiny after researcher Chris Horner revealed that top agency officials used secret email addresses to conduct business or, in some cases, used nongovernment addresses, which were shielded from open-records access.

Ms. Jackson used an alternate email under the alias “Richard Windsor” to do some business.

The EPA said that since her main email was listed on the agency website and received voluminous mail from the public, she needed another one to handle important internal messages.

The EPA says the alternate address was included in open-records search requests by the press and public.

Mr. Horner, who is still pressing the EPA for more emails, said the ones made public Tuesday show an agency at war with energy producers.

“Recent email productions we have extracted from the agency reaffirm that the greens are de facto running things in Obama’s EPA,” Mr. Horner said. “Other documents we will release soon make this case in disturbing detail. And Gina McCarthy actively participated in this every step of the way.”

Last week, Mr. Vitter released some emails from his investigation showing that a former top EPA official lied in claiming that he used his private email only to conduct one scheduling matter.

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