[guest post by Dana]
The Environmental Protection Agency is in the news this week, and none of it’s good, as usual. Unfortunately, it also involves missing emails.
On the heels of the IRS being the focus of a House Oversight Committee investigation, this investigation by the Committee involves the EPA and whether a biologist, or anyone else at the agency, colluded with environmentalists to ensure a negative assessment of a mining proposal in Alaska.
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.
Critical emails from the biologist have gone missing. However, the agency came just short of blaming it on a computer crash.
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.
Meadows asked her if the agency broke federal laws on record-keeping and if the biologist’s emails were preserved, and she said the EPA has notified the National Archives and Records Administration about the hard-drive issue.
House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa, who surely must be ready to blow a gasket over the excuse of missing emails, demanded the subpoenaed documents be turned over.
“I am telling you, the time to comply is now,” Issa told her. “If it is not complied with … this committee will consider and vote on contempt. I hope that over the next few days our folks and your folks can resolve this with all the emails.”
The Environmental Protection Agency in Denver, Colorado is facing a troubling issue of a disgusting sort, and it became necessary to address it with all staff:
Management for Region 8 in Denver, Colo., wrote an email earlier this year to all staff in the area pleading with them to stop inappropriate bathroom behavior, including defecating in the hallway.
In the email, obtained by Government Executive, Deputy Regional Administrator Howard Cantor mentioned “several incidents” in the building, including clogging the toilets with paper towels and “an individual placing feces in the hallway” outside the restroom.
Confounded by what to make of this occurrence, EPA management “consulted” with workplace violence “national expert” John Nicoletti, who said that hallway feces is in fact a health and safety risk. He added the behavior was “very dangerous” and the individuals responsible would “probably escalate” their actions.
“Management is taking this situation very seriously and will take whatever actions are necessary to identify and prosecute these individuals,” Cantor wrote. He asked for any employees with knowledge of the poop bandit or bandits to notify their supervisor.
The irony of poop in the hallways of the Environmental Protection Agency speaks for itself, however, while the EPA has a reputation of corruption, as well as “unusual” activity within the agency, this is a new low.
Contractors built secret man caves in an EPA warehouse, an employee pretended to work for the CIA to get unlimited vacations and one worker even spent most of his time on the clock looking at pornography.
Our government at work.