Sen. Vitter Hits the Ground Running

by Myron Ebell on February 5, 2013

in Features

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Senator David Vitter (R-La.) has hit the ground running as the new ranking Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.  Last week Vitter and Representative Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, sent a letter to James Martin, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 8, asking whether Martin had used a secret, private e-mail account to conduct official business.

As Vitter and Issa note in their letter, “The use of personal, non-official e-mail accounts raises concerns that you could be attempting to insulate this and other e-mail correspondence from a Freedom of Information Act request. Moreover, your actions may also constitute violation of the Federal Records Act.”  It may also be used to evade congressional oversight of federal agencies.

Several of Martin’s private e-mails were released by the EPA as a result of a lawsuit by the Competitive Enterprise Institute.  The efforts of CEI’s Chris also revealed that EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson was using an alias official EPA account in the name of Richard Windsor.

Sens. Vitter & Alexander Ask AG Why Oil Is Prosecuted for Killing Birds, but Not Wind

Also last week, Senator David Vitter (R-La.) and Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) asked Attorney General Eric Holder to explain the Department of Justice’s selective enforcement of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. Oil and gas producers have been prosecuted for unintentionally killing small numbers of birds, while windmill owners are never prosecuted for killing thousands of birds protected under the legislation and underlying treaty.

Vitter and Alexander argue that the legislation was never intended to cover incidental killings of protected birds, as occurs frequently with windmills and rarely with oil and gas production.  “Owning a cat could be subject to criminal prosecutions if this precedent is set.”

Sen. Vitter Objects to EPA’s Absurd Mandate for Non-Existent Fuel

Senator David Vitter (R-La.) made a statement objecting to the EPA’s 2013 requirements for the Renewable Fuels Standard.  The EPA is proposing to require refiners to use 14 million gallons of advanced biofuels, primarily cellulosic ethanol.  Fourteen million gallons is a huge increase over the 2012 requirement of 8.65 million gallons.  A few thousand gallons of cellulosic ethanol were produced in 2012.

Last week, the federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the EPA must base its requirements for advanced biofuels on reasonable estimates instead of on pie-in-the-sky hopes.

Vitter has replaced Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) as ranking Republican on the EPW Committee.  Inhofe has replaced Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) as ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee.

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