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EPA inspector general probing agency head’s use of private email account

EPA Soot
FILE- In this April 17, 2012 file photo, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson gestures during an interview with The Associated Press at EPA Headquarters in Washington. In its first major regulation since the election, the Obama administration will impose a new air quality standard that reduces by 20 percent the maximum amount of soot released into the air from smokestacks, diesel trucks and other sources of pollution. The Environmental Protection Agency is set to announce the new standard on Friday, meeting a court deadline in a lawsuit by 11 states and public health groups. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf, File)

Flying somewhat below the media radar this week is the news that the Environmental Protection Agency’s inspector general is looking into whether agency head Lisa Jackson used a private email account with the alias “Richard Windsor” for official business, thus circumventing federal transparency laws for official communications, including the Freedom of Information Act. The news was first broken by Politico.

The IG’s action follows Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee sending a letter to the EPA last week demanding an investigation into the email accounts. According Chris Horner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, who was apparently the first to uncover the account, Jackson uses other email addresses in addition to the “Richard Windsor” one.

The EPA has acknowledged Jackson uses the Windsor account but downplayed its significance, arguing extra accounts are necessary to deal with the sheer volume of emails they receive.