Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Inhofe uses lack of Senate-approved CEQ chairman to question legality of guidance documents

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK)
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK)
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) recently sent two letters, to President Barack Obama and to the Managing Director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), on the council’s prolonged lack of a Senate-confirmed chairman.

"[The recent] change to CEQ’s order of succession does not confer special status for the Managing Director position to operate the council or to act on its behalf while the chairman position is vacant,” said the letter to the CEQ Managing Director. “It does not change the fact that, given the President’s failure to nominate a chairman within the time frame set forth in the Vacancies Reform Act, as a matter of law, the position of CEQ Chairman must remain vacant and no one may perform those duties until the President formally nominates a replacement and an eligible person is found to serve as the acting officer."

Inhofe’s letter to President Obama chides the president for failing to nominate a candidate for the chairmanship since the position became vacant in February 2014 and calls into question the legality of several guidance documents the CEQ has released in the interim.

"Your reliance on lower-level staff to function as the council indefinitely, without any apparent intention to nominate a chairman, is contrary to your constitutional duty to ensure that the Vacancies Reform Act and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) are faithfully executed,” said Inhofe in the letter to President Obama. “The result of this failure is the fact that CEQ is no longer a lawfully functioning government agency and any actions purporting to have been taken on behalf of the council during this vacancy period are ultra vires."

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Senate Environment and Public Works

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