Oversight Committee Issues Subpoena to OIRA for WOTUS Documents

Published: Jul 14, 2015

Administrator refuses to produce documents despite numerous Congressional inquiries

WASHINGTON – Today, after repeated efforts to work with the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz issued a subpoena to Administrator Howard Shelanski to produce documents and communications related to the agency’s review of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.

Upon issuing the subpoena Chairman Chaffetz made the following statement:

“Congress and the American people have a right to understand how rules are developed. OIRA plays a key role in ensuring agencies are meeting statutory guidelines in their proposed rules. It is critical for OIRA to maintain an unbiased and objective viewpoint in their evaluations. Despite many efforts by this Committee to work with OIRA to obtain relevant documents for the Committee’s oversight efforts,  Administrator Shelanski has refused to comply with our requests. Therefore, issuing a subpoena became the necessary next step.” 

Earlier this year, Administrator Shelanski testified at an Oversight hearing examining the challenges that face OIRA. Citing the deliberative process, he asserted his intention to withhold documents from the Committee regarding the WOTUS rule. As a result of his comments, the Committee sent a formal request letter to OIRA and has engaged in more than a dozen interactions over the last four months with OIRA seeking access to the documents.