Have Environmental Protection Agency officials decided an appropriate reaction to questions about their war on coal is to thumb their noses at Congress? In view of recent events, it is a valid question.
On June 1, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson was expected to attend or send a representative to a hearing of the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources Oversight. Panel members wanted to question someone from the agency about its outrageous attempt to shut down the Spruce Mine in West Virginia.
No one from the EPA showed up for the hearing.
Then last Wednesday, the House's Energy and Power Subcommittee held another hearing on a matter related to the EPA. Al Armendariz, formerly a regional administrator for the agency, was to testify.
Hours before he was to attend the hearing, Armendariz canceled.
It is easy to understand why lawmakers wanted to question Armendariz to learn more about EPA officials' philosophy concerning enforcement of onerous regulations. He resigned April 29, after a firestorm of controversy about comments he made comparing EPA enforcement practices to the Roman army's policy of using crucifixion to pacify opponents.
One of the members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, questioned whether the two subcommittee meetings were "a concerted effort to avoid discussion of the (Obama) administration's policies and tactics on energy."
That is something members of the House, of both parties, should investigate immediately. A good first step would be to request Jackson's presence at another committee hearing - and make it clear the consequences for not attending will be swift and severe.