Groups sue EPA for top officials’ instant-message records

The groups and allied GOP lawmakers say the EPA lacks transparency, alleging agency officials seek to shield decision-making from public view.

Critics have attacked the EPA over revelations that Jackson used a secondary federal account under the name “Richard Windsor,” and that some others  have used personal email accounts.

The EPA has defended the transparency of its work and refuted claims that Jackson used the “Richard Windsor” account to shield business from public view (more on that here and here).

The March 28 lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, asks the court to compel the EPA’s response to two separate requests from the groups. It alleges that the EPA denied fee-waiver requests and did not respond to an appeal of the denials.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute asked EPA to look for instant messages sent to or from Jackson under her named account, the “Richard Windsor” account, or any others – specifically chats related to climate change and rules affecting coal-fired power plants.

The American Tradition Institute sought messages to or from any accounts used by Jackson (who left the EPA early this year), McCarthy, who is the EPA’s top air quality official, and Lisa Heinzerling, a former top adviser at the EPA who is now a law professor at Georgetown University.

Specifically, the request sought any exchanges with the Sierra Club, the American Lung Association, and the Center for Progressive Reform (a group Heinzerling now works with).

An EPA spokeswoman said the agency would review the lawsuit.