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June 26, 2019

Committee Chairs Again Request Information from EPA on Decision to Halt Post-Hurricane Harvey Air Pollution Monitoring

(Washington, DC) – Today, Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Subcommittee on Environment Chair Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX), and Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight Chairwoman Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) sent a third letter to Environment Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler requesting all pertinent documents and correspondence in relation to the decision making process that prevented the NASA Atmospheric Tomography Mission from participating in the post-hurricane response to the Houston area in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. This letter follows up on the Committee Chairs’ requests to the EPA on March 6 and April 10 which were both met with insufficient responses.

“We would remind EPA that agency compliance with Congressional oversight is not optional,” said the Committee Chairs. “It appears that EPA acted willfully to frustrate the Committee’s constitutionally-mandated oversight responsibilities on this issue. We are disturbed by EPA’s refusals to cooperate with our inquiries and its refusals to explain its actions in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Harvey was devastating for Houston and its surrounding communities; the Committee requested information from EPA in good faith. The Committee’s interest in this topic has discrete policy relevance that should concern all Americans: ensuring that federal agencies are deploying all available resources to inform the public and protect public health in the wake of a natural disaster. EPA’s refusal to respond to Congress on this issue suggests EPA may also fail to learn from its mistakes after Harvey and take more appropriate steps in the future.”

A copy of the full letter can be found here.