May 09 2013

Senator Blunt’s EPA Hold Still In Place Until Obama Administration Stops Bureaucratic Infighting

WASHINGTON, D.C. U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) announced today that he is still holding the nomination of President Barack Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Administrator nominee, Gina McCarthy, after nearly two months of bureaucratic infighting and gridlock by federal agencies involved in the St. Johns Bayou-New Madrid Floodway Project.

“I’m holding this nomination until the government stops arguing with the government,” said Blunt. “I’m not calling on the Obama Administration to spend a dime, or to build a thing. All these agencies have to do is agree on the facts surrounding a very long-standing project – and two months after their own self-imposed deadline, they’re still caught up in bureaucratic infighting. You’re entitled to your own opinion, but you’re not entitled to your own facts.”

Blunt placed a hold on McCarthy on March 18, 2013, after the Obama Administration failed to meet their own deadline to agree on the facts surrounding the release of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the St. Johns Bayou-New Madrid Floodway Project in Southeast Missouri.

Thus far, no progress has been made, and Blunt has not heard from McCarthy.

Background Information:

On February 27, 2013, Blunt and U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (Mo.) held a meeting with representatives from EPA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Fish and Wildlife Service to discuss the delayed St. Johns Bayou-New Madrid Floodway Project.

During the February meeting, the agencies agreed to a self-imposed deadline of March 15, 2013 to resolve their internal disputes and send Blunt and McCaskill an update so the federal government can finally move toward a final decision surrounding the project’s draft EIS. Nearly two months later, the agencies have still failed to resolve their dispute.

Blunt and former Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson (Mo.) wrote a letter in September 2012 calling on the Corps to provide answers regarding the project delay. McCaskill previously wrote to the heads of the EPA and the Fish and Wildlife Service in December 2012 demanding that they reach a resolution in 30 days and present a new EIS in 60 days. When the agencies failed to meet the Senator’s demand, McCaskill and Blunt organized the in-person meeting on February 27, 2013.

If approved, the St. Johns Bayou-New Madrid Floodway Project would install pumping stations and close a 1,500-foot gap in the Mississippi River levee system.

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