"Just this week the President expressed concern about governments that are 'closed and not transparent,'" said Howard Fox of Earthjustice, attorney for several public health and environmental organizations who have opposed industry's claims by intervening in the suits. "Open government means access not just for polluters, but also for the public that is forced to breathe pollution."
EPA announced Tuesday that it was seeking a postponement of oral argument scheduled for next week on key portions of regulations requiring cleanup of deadly diesel emissions, pending settlement discussions between EPA and industry plaintiffs. Earthjustice, which has intervened in the suit on behalf of American Lung Association, Environmental Defense, Sierra Club, and US Public Interest Research Group, filed a motion to be included in those talks. EPA countered with an opposition asking that the agency be allowed to continue excluding them. EPA claims it should be left up to the agency to decide whether to let environmentalists into the room during talks with industry, or whether to update them later.
"Hearing EPA's after-the-fact 'spin' on what happened during settlement talks is no substitute for being in the room when the agency is actually talking with industry," said Fox.