Environmental Protection Agency tells Congress it lost emails too
June 26th, 2014
02:24 AM ET
5 years ago

Environmental Protection Agency tells Congress it lost emails too

WASHINGTON (CNN) - One day after focusing on lost e-mails at the IRS, the House Oversight Committee learned Wednesday that the Environmental Protection Agency is also having trouble recovering e-mails the committee wants as part of a separate investigation.

McCarthy: "There is a challenge"     

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told the Republican-led committee that the agency cannot access some e-mails belonging to a biologist who worked on a controversial mining project assessment. It is a hard drive problem, but McCarthy was careful to not call it a "hard drive crash" or destroyed hard drive.      "I don't believe this is a missing hard drive issue," McCarthy told the panel, "There is a challenge getting access to the data on it... I'm still hoping we recover all those e-mails."

"I heard similar testimony yesterday," replied Rep. Mark Meadows, R-North Carolina, dryly referring to the committee's Tuesday hearing about a critical crashed hard drive at the IRS.

Investigation into mine report

With the EPA, the committee is investigating whether the biologist involved, or anyone else at the agency, colluded with environmentalists to produce a negative assessment of a mining proposal in Alaska. A separate investigation by the agency's inspector general is also underway.

The environmental assessment concluded that the Pebble Mine project could significantly harm the sockeye salmon fishery in Bristol Bay. As a result, in February, the agency essentially froze the permitting process for the mine as it reviews options for the area.

McCarthy insisted the agency is trying to recover the biologists' missing e-mails, but also tried to downplay his role in the mine assessment.

"He's not a decison maker in this process," she said. "He inputed into the science assessment that's been fully peer-reviewed. We have not made any decision on Bristol Bay, we've just taken a first step."

"But he could have colluded..." fired back Meadows.

"Which is why it's important the (inspector general) finish his report," McCarthy replied.

Did the EPA break the law?

Meadows pressed McCarthy on whether the agency broke federal records-keeping law. "Were all his emails preserved according to the Federal Records Act or was a law violated?"

McCarthy answered that the EPA notified the National Archives and Records Administration about the hard drive problem Tuesday.

"I think we have notified the appropriate authorities that we may have some e-mails that we cannot produce that we should have kept."

Issa (re)threatens contempt charge

During the same hearing, Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa, R-California, also demanded that the agency turn over documents that the committee subpoenaed last year.

"You have not complied with the subpoena," he told McCarthy. "I am telling you, the time to comply is now. If it is not complied with... this committee will consider and vote on contempt."

Issa has made this threat to McCarthy before, but indicated Wednesday that he expects a response within days or he is ready to act on the contempt charge.

By the end of the hearing, McCarthy and Issa agreed to let their staffs work behind the scenes.

"I hope that over the next few days our folks and your folks can resolve this with all the e-mails," Issa concluded.


Filed under: Darrell Issa • EPA • Gina McCarthy
soundoff (103 Responses)
  1. Leach

    There is so much corruption from this administration its just sad. I have worked in IT all my life and this stuff from the IRS and now EPA is unreal. No one not even an office of 10 people these days backs up data from email on a local hard drive. Before all this I was on the fence about the IRS deal and now I know this is all a ruse to hide information.

    June 26, 2014 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    @ smith: Personally, I just know how to play on the net.( I was the oddball of the family)

    LOL. That manual typewriter I spoke of? I often wonder what my grandchildren with think of it were I to pull it out for them to play with.

    June 26, 2014 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  3. smith

    @Rudy-Funding? They got money out the ying-yang. This goes back to my basic point of no oversight.

    June 26, 2014 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  4. rs

    just asking

    we have total incompetents or corrupt criminals or a mixture of the two running the federal government. and this is the very same government the democrats wants to use to control and run your healthcare with their single payer disaster!
    _______________________
    Not that your screed actually deals with the issue at hand, but you must remember when the Bush Administration couldn't produce their records- mostly because it was their policy to conduct business off of government servers using personal and corporate e-mail accounts.

    As far as the ACA- you clearly are clueless- it is as far away from single-payer as it can get.

    June 26, 2014 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  5. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    smith

    @Lynda-Sorry, but the systems are outdated doesn`t fly with me. Simply because its the agencies job to get the systems up to date.
    ------
    Funding. Haven't you ever heard of funding before? It's the Congress' job to ensure the agencies have the funding to get up to date. But, noooooooo. The House has been run the slash and burn crowd since 2011.
    ----------
    The IRS budger for IT was $1.84 Billion for FY 2011, $1.76 Billion for FY 2012, and $2.14 Billion for FY 2013. Another $900 Million each year for IT infrasstructore. (Source – IRS.gov) Maybe if they can take some of the money they spend on bonuses and junkets and buy some hardware.

    June 26, 2014 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  6. Tony D

    Lynda/Minnesota
    @ Tony D: And this from the very same government that will destroy your life in an audit if you do not have all the paperwork they demand.
    -–
    I've been audited. All that was required of me was to call the number listed on the mailing and inquire to where the mistake was made. Indeed. The lady I spoke with was quite helpful, never intimidating. It took a few minutes to get through; we discussed the discrepancy, and the matter was resolved. No guns. No threats. No congressional hearings.
    -–

    Yes, they reserve the very special three year torture treatment for conservatives and TEA Party groups. People that are like them need not fear them.

    June 26, 2014 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  7. kenny

    Now it gets simple. Obama is the boss. He either jails his IRS and EPA leaders or goes to jail for life himself.

    June 26, 2014 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  8. rs

    kenny

    Now it gets simple. Obama is the boss. He either jails his IRS and EPA leaders or goes to jail for life himself.
    __________________________
    Nice theory- but for all of the "scandals" the GOP throws up, they still are at zero for evidence. That's why the GOP is fighting the truth in political advertising laws. Take away their lies, they've got nothin' to say.

    June 26, 2014 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  9. Rudy NYC

    tom l

    Over 3/4 of Americans feel that the IRS deliberately destroyed the emails. Over 60% of dems think that. The gang? Not so much. They still are defending the I.R.S.
    ----------------------
    Your demagoguery blinds you to actual facts and reality, tom. Not everyone in your "gang" defends the fact that emails have been lost, which would include yours truly.

    June 26, 2014 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  10. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    The IRS budger for IT was $1.84 Billion for FY 2011, $1.76 Billion for FY 2012, and $2.14 Billion for FY 2013. Another $900 Million each year for IT infrasstructore. (Source – IRS.gov) Maybe if they can take some of the money they spend on bonuses and junkets and buy some hardware.
    -------------------------–
    What do 2012 and 2013 budgets have to do with a computer hard drive that failed in 2011?

    June 26, 2014 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  11. rs

    Yes, they reserve the very special three year torture treatment for conservatives and TEA Party groups. People that are like them need not fear them.
    ______________________
    If it was so much "torture" (drama!), then why did they all get their 501 (c) 4 status? Why did the equal number of Left-leaning groups not? Further- why have many of those TEA Party groups already relinquish their status? Unsustainability, perhaps?

    June 26, 2014 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  12. rs

    tom l

    Over 3/4 of Americans feel that the IRS deliberately destroyed the emails. Over 60% of dems think that. The gang? Not so much. They still are defending the I.R.S.
    _________________________
    55% of Americans believe in UFOs. 46% of Americans believe in Bigfoot. 96% of Republicans believe we are in the "end times". So what? Public opinion minus evidence means absolutely zip.

    June 26, 2014 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  13. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Yes, they reserve the very special three year torture treatment for conservatives and TEA Party groups. People that are like them need not fear them."

    Well, which is it? I was audited because I "am one of them". Or I was given special treatment because I "am one of them"?

    June 26, 2014 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  14. freedom

    The Supreme Court finally found Obama guilty of breaking the law today – and the momentum is building. He's gone too far with his narcissism and dictator approach to the presidency – hubris – it's always the downfall.

    June 26, 2014 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  15. Tommy G

    rs
    Nice theory- but for all of the "scandals" the GOP throws up, they still are at zero for evidence.
    -

    Obama administration pattern:

    1. Engage in illegal activity
    2. When caught, stonewall, claim scandal is made up.
    3. Immediately start destroying all evidence.
    4. Have blind followers claim there is no evidence of wrong doing.
    5. Resume at 1.

    June 26, 2014 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  16. Rudy NYC

    it must be said

    Rudy NYC
    Funding. Haven't you ever heard of funding before? It's the Congress' job to ensure the agencies have the funding to get up to date. But, noooooooo. The House has been run the slash and burn crowd since 2011.
    -–

    Yup... that bare bones $3.5 TRILLION bureaucracy is just starving for money! But their bonuses sure keep flowing don't they? All those millions spent on conference boondoogles! But just can't afford new computers? Next joke!
    -----------------------------
    Your argument about excess spending on junkets and conferences is a joke. It's old news, a practice that was exposed and stopped back 2009. The IRS is not a $3.5T bureaucracy. There's a pattern emerging here. There are multiple agencies that have outdated, unreliable computer systems.

    June 26, 2014 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  17. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    rs says:
    June 26, 2014 11:25 am at 11:25 am
    tom l

    Over 3/4 of Americans feel that the IRS deliberately destroyed the emails. Over 60% of dems think that. The gang? Not so much. They still are defending the I.R.S.
    _________________________
    55% of Americans believe in UFOs. 46% of Americans believe in Bigfoot. 96% of Republicans believe we are in the “end times”. So what? Public opinion minus evidence means absolutely zip.

    And let's not forget 98% of Americans were for stricter background checks for gun owners but the NRA shut that down quickly.

    June 26, 2014 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  18. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    The IRS budger for IT was $1.84 Billion for FY 2011, $1.76 Billion for FY 2012, and $2.14 Billion for FY 2013. Another $900 Million each year for IT infrasstructore. (Source – IRS.gov) Maybe if they can take some of the money they spend on bonuses and junkets and buy some hardware.
    ---------–
    What do 2012 and 2013 budgets have to do with a computer hard drive that failed in 2011?
    --------–
    Are you freeking serious????? You dont think that their FY 2010, FY 2009, FY 2008 budgets for IT weren't similar? And YOU talk abut someone else's blind demagoguery?? Unbelieveable.Just unbelievable.

    June 26, 2014 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  19. Tony D

    rs
    Yes, they reserve the very special three year torture treatment for conservatives and TEA Party groups. People that are like them need not fear them.
    ______________________
    If it was so much "torture" (drama!), then why did they all get their 501 (c) 4 status? Why did the equal number of Left-leaning groups not? Further- why have many of those TEA Party groups already relinquish their status? Unsustainability, perhaps?
    --

    Why do you continuously lie in here? Hundreds of TEA Party groups were denied their status many for over three years and two election cycles. They were repeatedly hounded for more and more information no matter how much they provided. Then other government agencies started showing up their doors with inspections, audits, reviews, etc. There were NO liberal groups that experienced this treatment. So please enough of your lies. If you have a list of hundreds of liberal groups that got this type of treatment then please do post the list because to date that list has never been published. It is simply part of the left wing stream of lies to distract from the truth.

    June 26, 2014 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  20. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Maybe if they can take some of the money they spend on bonuses and junkets and buy some hardware."

    Apparently the need is strong. As such, I agree.

    June 26, 2014 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  21. smith

    @Lynda-I like those typewriters.lol always had a good sound to them. My kid laughs everytime he sees my cell. I still us a flip phone I bought back in 2010. Its tough trying to chat on ticker with this thing.

    June 26, 2014 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  22. Silence DoGood

    @Tommy G
    Obama administration pattern:

    1. Engage in illegal activity
    2. When caught, stonewall, claim scandal is made up.
    3. Immediately start destroying all evidence.
    4. Have blind followers claim there is no evidence of wrong doing.
    5. Resume at 1.
    -------------
    Sadly, there is a reason that people think the scandals are made up.
    Death panels, birth certificate, Obama controlling the weather, secret Muslim Brotherhood membership, gay parties, trips to Mars, taking everyone's guns away (0 so far), Kenya myths, Indonesia myths. I think we all get the idea.

    June 26, 2014 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  23. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    The IRS budger for IT was $1.84 Billion for FY 2011, $1.76 Billion for FY 2012, and $2.14 Billion for FY 2013. Another $900 Million each year for IT infrasstructore. (Source – IRS.gov) Maybe if they can take some of the money they spend on bonuses and junkets and buy some hardware.
    ---–
    What do 2012 and 2013 budgets have to do with a computer hard drive that failed in 2011?
    --––
    Are you freeking serious????? You dont think that their FY 2010, FY 2009, FY 2008 budgets for IT weren't similar? And YOU talk abut someone else's blind demagoguery?? Unbelieveable.Just unbelievable.
    ==================================================================
    Seriously, why didn't you report those numbers, too? You could have reported them in your reply, but, for whatever reason, failed to do so. I don't draw conclusions from false assumptions, which is exactly what you're doing.

    So, I ask again, what do the 2012 and 2013 budgets have to do with a computer hard drive that failed in 2011? Not a darn thing.

    June 26, 2014 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  24. Malory Archer

    Demanding 28 years of emails is a voluminous and frivolous request. Having had experience with municipal and state FOIA requests, I know the requester is required to cite a SPECIFIC subject for emails they're looking for; someone just can't go to the town clerk's office and say they want every email ever produced by a single individual or group of individuals. And considering local and state government follow federal FOIA guidelines, I'm thinking the car thief hasn't a CLUE what he's doing.

    June 26, 2014 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC

    Tommy G

    rs
    Nice theory- but for all of the "scandals" the GOP throws up, they still are at zero for evidence.

    Obama administration pattern:

    1. Engage in illegal activity
    2. When caught, stonewall, claim scandal is made up.
    3. Immediately start destroying all evidence.
    4. Have blind followers claim there is no evidence of wrong doing.
    5. Resume at 1.
    ---------------------------------–
    Shame on you. You've completely forgotten about giving away free stuff, cheating at the polls, so he could get re-elected.

    June 26, 2014 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
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