Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today announced the Government Accountability Office has agreed to review whether the White House pressured the Environmental Protection Agency to abuse its law enforcement authority to single out San Francisco.
“No city or state should be singled out for EPA enforcement action as a method of political attack,” Feinstein said today. “We need to know whether the EPA has applied a consistent approach to enforcement against all cities with combined sewer systems or if San Francisco was being punished at the direction of the White House. This review of EPA actions will get to the bottom of this issue.”
- In September 2019, EPA Administrator Wheeler sent a letter to Governor Newsom alleging state water quality violations that contradicted the agency’s own findings. The letter was sent after President Trump inaccurately claimed that solid waste and needles from San Francisco’s homeless were flowing into the ocean from storm sewers and the city would soon be given a notice of violation. In October, the agency issued a formal notice of violation to San Francisco
- In October 2019, Senators Feinstein and Harris called on the EPA inspector general to investigate whether the White House pressured the agency to abuse its law enforcement authority to single out California and the city of San Francisco. That letter is available here.
- In May 2020, after the inspector general announced that he was considering an investigation into whether the White House pressured the agency to abuse its law enforcement authority to single out California and the city of San Francisco, Senators Feinstein and Harris wrote a letter providing additional information into the situation. That letter and information is available here.
- Last month, on July 6, the senators wrote the GAO because the EPA IG office had indicated it was coordinating with the GAO in its potential review of EPA’s actions. The senators asked that the GAO focus its investigation on whether the EPA failed to apply a consistent approach to enforcement against San Francisco as compared to other water utilities with combined sewer systems. That letter is available here.