Saturday, June 8, 2013

The EPA Scandal Factory

In the wake of the IRS scandal, and the blossoming NSA phone monitoring scandal, some other scandals are being denied oxygen. Among these are a series of matters at EPA, an agency filled with true believers and political hacks, often in the same person.  Gabriel Malor at Ace's put together this nice guide to the ongoing EPA issues:
...I'd really like to keep the EPA scandals in the spotlight because they run the gamut from basic bureaucratic waste, to malicious politically-motivated abuse, to direct malfeasance by the EPA's highest appointee. Here they are:

(1) EPA awarded former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson's alias, Richard Windsor, an ethics award.  Yes, a fake person -- an alias created to avoid disclosure obligations and keep Lisa Jackson from having to read all the email in her actual email account -- won an ethics award...
I've reported on this several times before, and I remain open to the possibility that this is innocent; that the secondary email accounts (there are many) were used to avoid the mass of emails that the public account would receive.  That's certainly true.  However,  the EPA's actions and extensive redaction of the emails once made public seem to suggest that they were also a means to avoid FOIA requests, and used to communicate with friendly NGOs.
(2) EPA targeted conservative groups for disfavored treatment.

This scandal is a direct parallel to the IRS targeting. The EPA gets FOIA requests from conservative and from liberal groups. Generally, the requesting person or entity has to pay for the cost of searching, compiling, and printing the records either on paper or CD. And these fees can range up into the hundreds of thousands of dollars per FOIA. But there are waivers for these fees. You can guess who gets the waivers and who doesn't...
I reported this as well. This one burns me up particularly because of the politically motivated unevenness of the response.
(3) EPA contractors turned part of an EPA warehouse into their own personal rec rooms and gym.  Here's an almost banal example of bureaucratic waste. Contractors let loose to do their thing with only belated oversight. Yes, they were paid to happily build their clubhouse and gym.
Although I've seen the reports,I haven't post on this.  As Gabe says, it's almost banal.  You can expect such behavior in any sprawling agency that can't keep track of it's own moving parts.  The solution is to cut the EPA budget, and force them to go looking for useless crap to cut.
(4) EPA leaked personal info of farm and cattle facilities to environmental activists.
This scandal is the EPA version of the IRS's leak of National Organization for Marriage's records. A group of people (80,000 people) that some agency employees have reason not to like suddenly have their personal information show up in the hands of their political adversaries.

The EPA has asked environmental activist groups Earth Justice, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Pew Charitable Trust, to give the information back, but . . . c'mon. ...
Again, I've covered this before, but in light of the use of the IRS to target political enemies, it should be re-examined in the light as an example of systematic politicization of the regulatory branch of government.

Let me add a 5th, which I have also covered.  EPA actually provides and pays for training for groups, mostly its favored NGOs to sue it to do what Congress has not asked it to do.
5) The EPA is using taxpayer money to encourage environmentalist groups to sue … the EPA. This has continued for decades.

The EPA has paid one of these groups to produce a do-it-yourself guide to suing the EPA.

The EPA frequently enters into consent decrees to settle the suits. Even when the EPA doesn’t hand out megadollar settlements — your money — to the litigious loons, it commonly pays their attorney’s fees.
Linked by the DaleyGator in "Pics, Links, Babes, and the best Conservative/Libertarian posts from around the web."

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