ON FUKUSHIMA ANNIVERSARY: TIME TO INVESTIGATE GINA McCARTHY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE MARCH 11, 2013
Contact: Nancy Burton, NancyBurtonCT@aol.com

Gina McCarthy’s release of only four emails concerning the Fukushima nuclear disaster in response to a Freedom of Information request – two on March 11, 2011, when it began and two a day later, both heavily redacted – raise grounds for her investigation, not nomination, a Connecticut anti-nuclear organization said today.

On March 4, 2013, President Obama nominated McCarthy, who has served as head of EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation since 2009, to become head of EPA. She has yet to undergo a Senate confirmation hearing.

“Gina McCarthy’s handling of the Fukushima crisis as EPA’s chief of radiation protection demonstrates she is not qualified for that position,” said Nancy Burton, director of the Connecticut Coalition Against Millstone.

EPA’s own Inspector General issued a scathing report which found that McCarthy’s management of the nation’s air monitoring network was seriously deficient and many stations inoperable in the immediate aftermath of the triple nuclear meltdown at Fukushima commencing two years ago today. (See “Weaknesses in EPA’s Management of the Radiation Network System Demand Attention,”
http://www.epa.gov/oig/reports/2012/20120419-12-P-0417.pdf.)

The limited air monitoring system detected Fukushima fallout in the U.S., particularly in Hawaii, Alaska and the West Coast but extending across the nation to Vermont and Connecticut. Fukushima fallout was detected in milk in Vermont and rainwater in Hartford, Connecticut.

Burton filed a Freedom of Information request on June 12, 2012 seeking all of McCarthy’s emails and correspondence concerning radiation released by the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

In response, McCarthy released only 5 emails – 2 dated March 11, 2011 and 3 dated March 12, 2011.

In 4 of the emails, she redacted the name of the recipient.

In a March 12, 2012 email, McCarthy misspelled “Chernobyl.” Referring to the 1986 nuclear disaster in Ukraine, she spelled it “Chernoble.”

None of the emails released by McCarthy contained substantive information.

On December 27, 2012, Burton appealed from McCarthy’s disclosure to the EPA’s FOIA and Privacy Branch. No action has yet been taken on the appeal.

“McCarthy’s record of failing to provide even a minimal level of radiation monitoring during the Fukushima crisis – one of her primary responsibilities as EPA’s head of Air and Radiation – is more than deeply troubling,” Burton said.

“McCarthy’s obvious failure to provide full disclosure under the FOI Act reinforces concerns about her commitment to protect the American public from radiation exposure and detection,” Burton said.

“On this second anniversary of Fukushima, we call upon Congress to fully investigate McCarthy’s record on radiation protection,” Burton said.

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