Washington, D.C. – Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today sent a letter to the League of Conservation Voters requesting all communications they have had with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy regarding the Keystone XL pipeline. Today’s letter follows a recent subpoena issued to the EPA for all documents related to the agency’s preservation of electronic communications, as required by the Federal Records Act.
Media reports last fall revealed that Administrator McCarthy deleted nearly 6,000 text messages from her work phone. But according to the EPA, only one text message to McCarthy qualified as a federal record. Coincidentally, that one text message was preserved just nine days after EPA received the Committee’s January 27, 2015 letter. The text message, from Gene Karpinski, President of the League of Conservation Voters, stated:
“Great job on the EPA comments on keystone. I feel like the end is very near….”
Today, Chairman Smith wrote to Mr. Karpinski requesting additional communications. “You and Administrator McCarthy have apparently worked closely together on important issues, and as your text message to the Administrator indicates, you have similar goals on Keystone XL,” Smith wrote. “As the Committee continues its oversight into the claim that Administrator McCarthy has only sent or received one text message that qualifies as a federal record, additional information is required.”
Federal records are kept for a number of reasons, including institutional memory, ensuring effective and efficient administration of an organization, and to “make possible a proper scrutiny by the Congress…” Agencies are required to preserve all records that document how decisions are made.
Chairman Smith’s full letter can be found here.