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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Emails Reveal Extensive Collaboration Between EPA, Environmentalists

A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request has led to the release of many emails revealing a close cooperation between the EPA and several environmental organizations.

The emails show that the agency played politics with groups like the Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund, and the National Resource Defense Council.  It included advance coordination of EPA messaging to match up with the chosen message of these organizations, collaborating to pressure energy company officials, and the EPA arranging its affairs to assist environmental groups gather petitions on agency rulemaking.

From the Washington Free Beacon:
Critics of the agency and its nonprofit allies were surprised by the cooperation.
“The level of coordination in these documents is shocking,” EELI said in a statement.
Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.), a member of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power, said the emails suggest that the EPA is straying from its mission by working hand-in-hand with hardline green groups.
“It’s unfortunate that EPA has spent more of its resources promoting and coordinating a political agenda with environmentalists instead of doing its job,” Pompeo said in an emailed statement.
“In Kansas, we expect public officials to serve the public interest, not the interests of radical environmentalist groups.”
In a story that seems somewhat related, a letter was made public recently that shows how the EPA has reached out to respond to environmentalists and assure them that the agency intends to move forward with a push to crack down on fracking.

From the National Journal:
The Environmental Protection Agency is seeking to assure environmentalists that it hasn't dropped the ball on oversight of hydraulic fracturing.
A letter from EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to the Natural Resources Defense Council vows the agency will take steps on several fronts to boost the environmental safety of fracking, the oil-and-gas extraction method that's enabling U.S. energy production to soar.
"The EPA is moving forward on several initiatives to provide regulatory clarity with respect to existing laws and using existing authorities where appropriate to enhance public health and environmental safeguards," McCarthy writes in a Jan. 10 letter.
The EPA is responding to a letter from the NRDC questioning how the agency has handled prominent cases of drillers being accused of contaminating water over the past few years.  As has been pointed out by supporters of drilling (and ignored or minimized by anti-drillers), a solid case can be made that the science dictated the EPA dropping investigations in these different matters.

Do you trust that the EPA is just trying to make proper decisions to protect the public, or do you feel that the agency is more interested in advancing a specific political agenda?

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