In July, EPA released the recommendations of the Superfund Task Force. Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility filed a FOIA request, looking for documents related to the operation of the Task Force. This week, the AP reported on EPA’s defense of the inevitable law suit that PEER filed when EPA did not turn over any documents.
It turns out that, according to Johnny Walker, the DOJ attorney representing EPA in the litigation, there is a simple explanation for EPA’s failure to produce any documents – there aren’t any. According to the AP, Walker has told PEER that the Task Force kept no minutes and no materials were presented to the Task Force. The Task Force also retained no work product other than the final report.
That’s one way to minimize the impact of those pesky FOIA requests. On the other hand, I suspect that it would be fun to depose those who managed the Task Force about how good their memories must have been to keep track of all of the recommendations as they were being developed.
Personally, I am keeping an open mind to the possibility that, like Athena, the Task Force report was born full-grown from the forehead of Scott Pruitt.