Upton seeks information regarding EPA’s Keystone communications

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) pressed EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy for information on Wednesday regarding the agency’s alleged communications with environmental groups about the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Upton and House Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) sent a letter to McCarthy regarding recent reports that agency officials communicated with the Sierra Club about its opposition to the project.

“While communication with outside parties should be encouraged to ensure EPA officials have maximum information for policy decisions, we want to be sure those officials do not inappropriately share non-public planning and deliberative documents in a manner that undermines trust in the agency’s process,” Upton and Murphy said.

The committee leaders requested documents related to the communications, including internal drafts or analyses about the pipeline that were shared with outside organizations. An EPA response was requested no later than Feb. 12.

The southern portion of the Keystone XL pipeline, the Gulf Coast Project, began pumping oil last week. Construction of the pipeline’s northern portion has stalled because it has not received a presidential permit required for crossing an international border.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Vice Chairman Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) also signed the letter.