UPDATE, 3 PM: EPA has refused to turn over the documents, still calling them "pre-decisional" in a letter today, and fearing that they might create an "erroneous impression of the agency's thinking" and potentially be "injurious to important Executive Branch institutional prerogatives." Rep. Markey plans to consult with fellow Committee members before announcing his next steps, which may ultimately include going to the U.S. Attorney.
When he last testified about his decision to seek further analysis and comment before EPA makes an endangerment finding for greenhouse gas emissions, Administrator Stephen Johnson dissembled in response to suggestions that, should his decision not become moot in court, this meant that EPA would be passing the ruling on to the next administration.
Fortunately, his subordinates are a bit more forthcoming:
Margo Oge, head of EPA's Office of Transportation and Air Quality, told reporters Monday at an automotive conference that "given the time frame available to the agency, it's not realistic" that EPA will decide whether to regulate emissions linked to global warming, as the Supreme Court directed one year ago.
Oge said an advanced notice for a proposed rule-making on the issue will be released later this spring, and the public will then have two months to comment. The agency plans to evaluate those comments and a proposal typically needs a year of consideration, she said. Oge spoke at the annual conference of SAE International, an automotive engineering group.
Meanwhile, yesterday marked EPA's deadline for handing over the endangerment finding it shelved in December, as per the unanimous subpoena issued by the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. Chairman Ed Markey (D-MA) noted the deadline with an ominous warning:
If the EPA fails to comply with today’s deadline, Johnson will have triggered a potential contempt process. Chairman Markey will consult with House leadership to advance action against Johnson and the EPA. In order to issue a contempt order, the Select Committee would need a simple majority vote, and the order would have to be approved by the House. No dates have been set for either vote.