08.15.2012 15

What is the EPA hiding?

EPA LogoBy Rick Manning — The Environmental Protection Agency has been a lightning rod for controversy during the Obama Administration as they have pushed the applications of the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act to their limits in seeking to control all land use across the nation.

One area that hasn’t received as much scrutiny, but reeks of old-style influence peddler politics is the Agency’s escalation of sue and settle cases to change the law through federal court decree operating hand in hand with radical environmentalist groups that are willing participants in the scam.

Numerous media reports have focused upon the revolving door between the EPA and various environmentalist groups with hundreds officials reportedly moving back and forth between environmental agencies and those that lobby them.  The latest is Alfredo Armendariz, who resigned after a two year old video emerged of him explaining to environmental groups that the EPA’s enforcement policies compared favorably with those of the Roman Empire where they would crucify someone in a newly conquered town to create the necessary fear in the citizenry.

Now Armendariz is working with the Sierra Club on their anti-coal campaign, in just one more example of the cozy relationship between the advocacy groups and the government that they lobby.

And it is these very relationships that are at the heart of the sue and settle controversy enveloping the Obama Administration.  Here is how it works:

An organization sues the EPA demanding that they apply the law in a new, expanded way that increases the agency’s jurisdiction.  The EPA, rather than defending the actual law, enters into a contractual relationship known as a consent decree with the party who filed the original lawsuit.  A judge signs the consent decree without review, since the two disputing parties are in “agreement.”  And the EPA suddenly has expanded powers to wield its enforcement cudgel against people and job creators who were previously outside their grasp.

Shockingly, U.S. taxpayers are then required, under federal law, to pay off the attorneys of the organization which engaged in this power grab scam.

Americans for Limited Government filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in May, 2012 (amended on June 14) to get to the bottom of one such sue and settle created regulation dealing with coal-ash.

The request simply asks for all communications between the EPA’s Offices, which entered into the legal agreement, and the eleven groups which sued the Agency including the Sierra Club, Chesapeake Climate Change Network and Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Not surprisingly, the EPA is stonewalling the request demanding that the costs of compiling the data be paid for by Americans for Limited Government in spite of the fact that the group has followed the exact procedures under the law which dictate that the information should be provided free of charge.  Similar Americans for Limited Government FOIA requests have been delivered without fee by more than a dozen other federal government departments and agencies.  Yet, the EPA objects.

Ironically, the EPA’s National Freedom of Information Act Officer, Larry Gottesman testified before the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee in 2010 stating, “EPA is committed to the letter and spirit of the Administration’s Open Government and Transparency goals.”

Apparently, that commitment does not extend to releasing information that promises to prove embarrassing to Obama and his hand in glove environmentalist advocacy group campaign to expand the EPA’s power through the dubious sue and settle process.

Gottesman’s attempts to stop the release of the communications between those who sued the EPA and the Agency which is supposed to defend the law, raises the following questions:

Is the National FOIA officer being coerced by Obama political appointees to stop the release of damaging information until after the November election?

What emails and other communications are so damaging that this career official would risk his reputation to keep them out of the public eye?

What communications have occurred related to the stonewalling of the original standard FOIA request?

The irony should not be lost that while the EPA lectures the rest of America on clean air, their own legal shenanigans are shrouded by a thick stench of obstructionism.

It’s time for America to know if the EPA is colluding with environmental radicals to manipulate the legal system with a promise that the radicals will get paid for their efforts through taxpayer funds.

It’s time for the EPA to come clean by releasing the communications between itself and the eleven organizations whose lawsuit led to the new proposed coal-ash regulations.

And it’s time for the EPA to disinfect their festering reputation as nothing more than a radical environmental advocacy organization with draconian enforcement powers rather than an even handed government agency.

Rick Manning is the communications director of Americans for Limited Government

  • Defund the EPA.  Problem solved.

  • Stluyjuy

    Absolutely, along with the Depts of: Education, most of Interior (the worst dept ing the Govenment) Commerce, most of transportation, most of ag, all of Forest Service, and defund any federal department the duplicates what the individual states already have in place ie. EPA’s, education, etc.

  • More reason to defeat Obummer and the Dumbocrats.

  • By shutting down this one government agency, America’s economic well being would improve over-night.   In our state of Kentucky, the EPA refuses to issue multiple permits for the coal industry, which is the breadwinner for many in Eastern Kentucky.  Another problem is Kentucky has Democrat Governor, friendly to the Obama Administration, so it appears there wont be much pressure on the EPA from the Governors Mansion.
    The EPA is single-handedly strangling our economy with unnecessary regulations. I hope we may have someone soon who has the courage to end the EPA strangle-hold on America.

  • marineh2ominer

    The goals of the EPA have nothing to do with the environment , they are only concerned with destroying our economy so that the United Nations tyrants can better subdue us and make us a big part of their ” one world government ” with no borders , no sovereignty , and of course no independence .  They cannot control a country able to maintain it’s freedom liberty , and EQUAL justice .

  • Christianitalian

    The EPA needs to be completly obolished period

  • fedupMan

    EPA radicals running amok at the becon and call of the radical in chief.
    Alinsky rules, lie, cheat, steal, intimidation and NO rules for liberals. In Alinsky’s brand
    of social warfare, the end justify any means. Winning is all that matters.
    “O” taught these rules to his minions who are now in the Govt going wild.

  • Ted

    They are working under orders.From guess who

  • No surprise here. After 15 years of negotiations, Cape Hatteras National Recreational Seashore was made possible by the sale of private land to the DOI. Residents of Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands were promised a road, a bridge, and continued “recreational” use to support their fledling tourist economy. In 2003, Audubon, Defenders of Wildlife, and Southern Environmental Law Center showed up insisting on very strigent wildlife and habitat protection schemes. In 2007 a plan (which leaned toward the environmental side but continued to provide for a decent amount of recreation) was finalized AND was awarded the coveted “No Jeporady Opinion” by USFWS. At the start of a negotiated rulemaking attempt at developing a long range plan with an ORV regualation, SELC, et al filed suit and the DOI instead of standing their ground met with SELC, et al, developed a consent decree and then told Dare County and Recreational Groups “sign it or we close the beaches”. They had a judge to back them up! The results are summarized in a cost benefit report posted at http://www.capehatterasanglersclub.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=category&sectionid=1&id=1&Itemid=2.
    In a nut shell, tourism is down, shorebird productivity is either down or up marginally, turtles are up but no more than they are for the rest of the east coast. Oh, and better yet, SELC, et al are continuing to block the replacement of our bride (due for replacement 18 years ago) and dictating how our road is managed (USFWS refuses to adhere to the rolling right a way agreed upon when the park was established). Without a road and bridge the only way on and off is by ferry! This isn’t just loss of jobs this is the destruction of a community with a heritage that dates back to the first English colonies and which may be proven to be the home of the Lost Colony (arch. digs are producing more and more evidence of this alternative theroy).

  • topeka


    1. ALG foia’d EPA? Wow… that almost brings a tear to my eye! Thank God somebody cares.

    2. Don’t expect much. Collude isn’t the word – that implies there are two or more parties in a secret agreement in contradiction to morality, ethics, or the law.

    3. reality – there is only one party. Call it whatever you like – Liberal, Eco-nut, Socialist, or Watermelon or Space Alien. These guys don’t consult to iron out an agreement, they consult to push their mutual agenda. And morality, ethics, the law, and… oh, yeah, health, safety and the environment can go to hell for all they care.

    4. So, you’re not likely to get anything juicy. Though they may make a mistake if you can force them into a data dump.


  • topeka

    Interior is the worst…

    No I think EPA takes the cake domestically.

    And Foggy Bottom is responsible for some really terrible crimes…

    so wiping out loggers, miners, burning forests, and throwing guys in prison for importing shellfish… no, that’s all in a day’s criminality for a Federal agency. …


  • topeka


    it’s a feature not a bug.

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