U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) has been a champion for farmers, ranchers, small business owners and other job creators who are faced with stiff penalties, costly mandates and unjustified interference by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
For years the EPA has ignored repeated requests by Congress for data supporting policies and rules established by the agency. Hoping to put an end to this pattern, Boozman asked the administration's nominee to head the EPA, Gina McCarthy, about her intention to change the agency's rulemaking policy.
In addition, Boozman gave an opening statement. The following is text as prepared for delivery:
We all value clean water, clean air and conservation -- in short, we all value a safe and clean environment for the benefit of all Americans. No single agency or individual is responsible for bringing about these important goals. These are things that the American people, from all walks of life, care about and work to achieve.
Every federal agency should be committed to transparency and accountability -- this includes transparency and accountability to Congress and the American people. The President has paid lip service to the importance of transparency, and we must hold every federal agency -- including the EPA -- accountable in this regard.
Transparency and accountability at the EPA should mean several things. First, it means that the agency should respond fully, truthfully, and promptly to Freedom of Information Act requests and Congressional inquiries.
It means that agency business should not be conducted on secret email accounts that shield officials from accountability.
Transparency and accountability mean that EPA shares the science -- the underlying data -- used to write or promote rules that will cost the American people billions of dollars every year. This is a matter of transparency, not just to Congress -- but also to the scientific community and ultimately to the American people.
Transparency and accountability mean that the EPA should recognize and follow the spirit of cooperative federalism, working with -- not dictating to -- state partners. This principle is built into our most important environmental laws, and too often the agency ignores it. The nominee mentioned the importance of "cooperative federalism" in her meeting with me. I appreciate that, and hope to hear more about what this means to her during today's hearing.
Transparency and accountability mean that the agency should implement laws like the Clean Air Act in the way that Congress intended. New authorities and requirements should not be suddenly discovered decades after a law was written in order to avoid accountability to the democratic process.
Transparency and accountability mean that all citizens -- from all points-of-view and sides of the political spectrum -- will have equal access to agency activities and processes. A "sue-and-settle" approach that provides unique access and influence to one set of stakeholders, on one side of the political spectrum, while locking out states and other interested parties, is hostile to the democratic values that the agency should uphold.
Ultimately, I believe the nominee is a gifted and committed individual with the credentials, knowledge, and experience for this important role, but my concern relates to the need for transparency, accountability, and respect for the democratic institutions and principles that are foundational in our country.
Yesterday, I joined several of my colleagues in sending a letter to the nominee outlining many of these concerns and asking for substantive actions from the agency.
Our requests are good-government, non-partisan requests, based on principles that should apply to all agencies and Administrations of both parties. I hope the agency will respond and act quickly, thoroughly, and proactively. And I hope today's hearing will allow us to dig into some of these issues. I look forward to the testimony. Thank you.