Washington, D.C.– Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson should explain her agency’s efforts to silence two employees who used a video posted on YouTube to question the value of a carbon trading system currently being considered in Congress, Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., and Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., said in a letter to Jackson.
“This is another example of the EPA playing dirty to get green,” said Sensenbrenner, ranking Republican on the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. “These two EPA attorneys merely sought to point out some of the many flaws inherent in a cap-and-tax system. Despite their decades of work on environmental issues, the EPA has sought to minimize their experience as well as their views.”
The YouTube video, produced by EPA attorneys Laurie Williams and Allan Zabel, argued that greenhouse gas cap-and-trade would not have the success of the acid rain cap-and-trade program in the 1990s because addressing acid rain “didn’t require major innovations in technology.” Zabel has been overseeing California's cap-and-trade and offset programs for more than 20 years. This experience made him well qualified to offer an opinion as to the effectiveness of an economy wide cap–and-trade scheme, Sensenbrenner, Issa and Barrasso said.
“In a YouTube video produced on their own time, Laurie Williams and Allan Zabel clearly state that the views expressed are their own and not that of the agency or the Obama Administration,” Sensenbrenner, Issa and Barrasso wrote. “Even so, EPA officials ordered the couple to remove the YouTube video last week. EPA’s actions appear to be an inappropriate abuse of authority and a possible infringement on the couple’s First Amendment rights.”
In addition to asking Jackson to reverse the order to remove the video, the letter also asks Jackson to respond to several questions concerning EPA ethics rules and the legal basis for EPA’s request to remove the video.
“The views of EPA employees who don’t subscribe to the Gore/Obama ideology on climate change clearly aren’t welcome at the EPA,” said Issa, ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Ranking Republican. “In less than a year, Chicago-style politics have replaced sound science as the primary driver of policy.”
“The EPA promised transparency; instead it’s putting a muzzle on its employees. Career employees should not be silenced for expressing an informed opinion simply because it differs from the administration,” said Barrasso, ranking Republican on the Senate Subcommittee on Oversight of the Committee on Environment and Public Works. “The EPA must be an open, accessible and science-based agency that respects the fundamental rights of its employees.”
Click here for the letter.