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. Silence DoGood

    @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.
    ---––
    That's the balance of power between 2 of the 3 branches of government.
    That is actually how the founders intended it to work.
    Only a conservative get into an emotional self righteous fret over normal operation of a peaceful lawful government.
    So today is a "Obama dictator" day instead of an "Obama do nothing incompetent" day? Or both?

    June 26, 2014 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  2. tom l

    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.
    ======

    Yesterday he called smith a "conservative ideologue" (a guy who is clearly an independent and has opinions on both sides of the aisle). I will repeat that. He called someone else an ideologue. You just can't make this stuff up.

    June 26, 2014 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  3. The Real Tom Paine

    So, when the GOP held the power of the purse and held the Presidency, did they make any effort to ensure that government computer systems were up-to-date, or did they not deem this worthy of their time? Most likely, no. And in their role as the opposition, did they ever make any mention of the necessity to have systems in our government that were at the very least up-to-date, if not state of the art? Not unless they were related to weapons systems.

    June 26, 2014 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  4. CryBabies

    Irritating at the very least. Somebody fix this.

    June 26, 2014 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  5. Malory Archer

    The Real Tom Paine
    So, when the GOP held the power of the purse and held the Presidency, did they make any effort to ensure that government computer systems were up-to-date, or did they not deem this worthy of their time? Most likely, no. And in their role as the opposition, did they ever make any mention of the necessity to have systems in our government that were at the very least up-to-date, if not state of the art? Not unless they were related to weapons systems.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Yeah, I'm thinking not. Ironically, the air traffic controllers that raygun fired were striking because of concerns about the outdated air traffic control system (my husband was in air traffic control school when the strike started so I remember it well). Thirty three years later, we still have the same outdated system in place, yet no calls from the right to do anything about it.

    June 26, 2014 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  6. Fair is Fair

    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.
    --------–
    You're right, Rudy. The IRS didn't have any money in their IT budget for those fiscal years. That's why the hard drive failed in 2011. How could I have been so foolish.

    You just go on talking and writing Rudy. Anyone with a modicum of common sense sees you for what you are.

    June 26, 2014 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  7. Dr. Brown

    Let freedumb reign! Oh the ignorance, your a gem!

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

    tom l

    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.
    ======

    Yesterday he called smith a "conservative ideologue" (a guy who is clearly an independent and has opinions on both sides of the aisle). I will repeat that. He called someone else an ideologue. You just can't make this stuff up.
    ====================================================================
    Tom, you look in the mirror and see an independent. Yours and smith's posts are riddled with demagoguery against the left, but never the right. By definition, that makes both of you conservatives.

    BTW, people of differing political views both liking some of the same things does not mean they are similar.

    June 26, 2014 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    In other words, the GOP views Congress' to be the following: accuse any agency that doesn't give the oil and coal industry whatever it wants of having engaged in a conspiracy to prevent these wealthy corporations and their owners from, well, doing whatever they want.

    June 26, 2014 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    "The Supreme Court finally found Obama guilty of breaking the law today"

    No it didn't. You can misread and mischaracterize the decisions all you want, but that doesn't make them say what you wanted to hear.

    June 26, 2014 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "He's gone too far with his narcissism and dictator approach to the presidency – hubris – it's always the downfall."

    Teatroll Rosetta Stone says: "Up-jumped and uppity."

    June 26, 2014 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  12. Lynda/Minnesota

    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.

    LOL. My youngest grandson is allowed 15 minutes of daily computer time. While babysitting him, he tried to show me how to play one of the kiddie games his dad had set up for him. After acknowledging that I wasn't "catching on", he suggested we do "education" time on the computer instead of game time. I spent the next 10 minutes with him watching construction vehicles perform daily tasks. After that, it was out to the sandbox to finish building sand roads.

    June 26, 2014 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  13. Thomas

    Why do republicans snivel , and what dose this have to do with Benghazi .

    Darrell Issa wants more money for hair gel .

    June 26, 2014 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  14. just asking

    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.
    --

    in lois lerner's case there is reason to believe she has been engaged in criminal activity for a long time. the emails will help determine just who she was involved with and how long the illegal activity was occurring. if she wasn't doing anything illegal then she and the democrats have nothing to fear, right?

    June 26, 2014 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  15. HenryMiller

    This is the most corrupt, criminal, administration in the country's history, making even Grant's administration look honest by comparison.

    June 26, 2014 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  16. sonny chapman

    I once had a Poli Sci Prof say,"Do Repubs REALLY want the IRS to function as efficiently as Private Enterprise"? AUDITS !!!!!!

    June 26, 2014 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  17. Malory Archer

    just asking
    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.
    -

    in lois lerner's case there is reason to believe she has been engaged in criminal activity for a long time. the emails will help determine just who she was involved with and how long the illegal activity was occurring. if she wasn't doing anything illegal then she and the democrats have nothing to fear, right?

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Right, because "this" case needs special consideration to be dealt with in the way your ilk demands. Got it. The fact is the car thief's request fits the definition of a frivolous and voluminous request, and shines a glaring light on the fact that he has no clue what he's doing. IMO, the IRS should request a judge's opinion on car thief's ridiculous demands, AND an IG investigation into the BS he and the reds in the house have been pulling for the last 5 years.

    June 26, 2014 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    "This is the most corrupt, criminal, administration in the country's history, making even Grant's administration look honest by comparison."

    Still obliviously swimming in that sea of hyperbole, eh? Swim, little fishy, swim....

    June 26, 2014 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  19. Malory Archer

    in lois lerner's case there is reason to believe she has been engaged in criminal activity for a long time. the emails will help determine just who she was involved with and how long the illegal activity was occurring. if she wasn't doing anything illegal then she and the democrats have nothing to fear, right?

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Considering she's a republican appointee, perhaps she's trying to cover her backside and those of her REAL masters from the fallout of THEIR criminal activity – and heaven knows THEY did some pretty shady stuff. If an investigation revealed someone from a previous administration committed crimes and she's attempting to cover for them, will you demand those individuals be hauled in, or will you still consider it President Obama's crime?

    June 26, 2014 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    "in lois lerner's case there is reason to believe she has been engaged in criminal activity for a long time."

    What is that reason? Her appointment by Dubya?

    June 26, 2014 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  21. Lynda/Minnesota

    "in lois lerner's case there is reason to believe she has been engaged in criminal activity for a long time. the emails will help determine just who she was involved with and how long the illegal activity was occurring."

    Silly me. Here I am thinking he's got a case of the a$$ because she isn't intimidated by his threats and he has therefore decided to abuse his congressional power by attacking her entire career in hopes of finding the missing link that never existed to begin with.

    June 26, 2014 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  22. sonny chapman

    Bullies like Issa don't like it when guys their own size stand up to them like John Koskinen.

    June 26, 2014 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  23. rs

    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.
    _________________________
    Tony- They all got their status. What's your problem with that? They had to answer a 4 question additional form. Geez, you make it sound like they had hot fork up their backsides. The TRUTH is all of the TEA Party groups got their status, less than half of the Left ones got their. At the face of it, where is the scandal? Now that almost half of the TEA Party groups folded- what does that tell you? Lerner is a Republican for cryin' out loud. The truth is, you guys are addicted to fantasy- without facts.

    June 26, 2014 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  24. The Real Tom Paine

    One thing that needs to be said is that at no time was there any indication that the Right wanted our Federal government, the government they controlled from 2001 to 2007, to have updated information systems. There is no indication that they made this a priority on any level, but you certainly heard a lot about tax cuts, and efforts to fund wars off the books, and other acts of dubious merit and legality. Now, all of a sudden, they get religion on computer systems they did not bother to update when they had the chance because of missing emails? The only time the GOP gives a damn about infrastructure like this is when its something that can work to their advantage. Its really pretty nauseating to watch them cover their tracks in a cloud of outrage, when they did not give a rat's behind when they called the shots.

    June 26, 2014 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  25. rs

    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.
    _____________________
    Prove it. There is zero evidence to any of your claims. Issa's $60 million witch hunt is the proof of it. If there was evidence he'd have it. Meanwhile the GOP wastes millions of taxpayer dollars on their fantasy.

    June 26, 2014 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
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