James Shott / August 4, 2015

Going Rogue, Part XI: EPA Will Break the Law to Do What Is Right!

The Environmental Protection Agency, long behaving as a narrowly focused ideological organization instead of as a servant of the people, may finally have messed up sufficiently to bring itself down, or at the very least to have earned a significant degree of restriction to its slash-and-burn approach to fossil fuel energy production.

Causing misery to thousands of honest, hard-working people who have lost jobs and businesses, suffered downturns in their business and/or paid heavy fines because of the agency’s dogmatic focus on imposing unwarranted restrictions on behaviors the agency dislikes, the EPA has been caught in an incestuous relationship with organizations that advocate the same ideology as agency bureaucrats.

The work of the Environment & Energy Legal Institute (EELI) reveals that the EPA has secretly colluded with environmental activists to drive the Obama administration’s manic global warming agenda. The organization’s report reveals “records showing illegal activities by EPA staff, conspiring with certain environmental group lobbyists to draft EPA’s greenhouse gas rules behind the scenes and outside of public view.”

As reported by The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Michael Bastasch, who quoted Chris Horner, an EELI senior attorney, “These emails, which EPA forced us to litigate to obtain, prove beyond any doubt that EPA conducted its campaign to impose the global warming agenda unlawfully, making the rules themselves unlawful.” Mr. Horner says the EPA’s rules were made in collusion with environmental groups, including the radical Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), thereby excluding the public from the process, and are therefore unlawful.

EELI says the EPA wrote the Clean Power Plan and other agency rules with an “unalterably closed mind” centered on an anti-fossil fuel agenda. The EPA’s behavior and the NRDC’s perspective perfectly fit the dictionary definition of the ideologue: an impractical idealist, an often blindly partisan advocate or adherent of a particular ideology.

A 2014 EELI report focused on emails released through a Freedom of Information Act request that showed coordination between EPA employees and environmentalists that discussed the Keystone XL pipeline and clean coal technology. The EELI asserts that the records show “the influence on EPA by pressure groups, the same groups from which EPA obtained numerous senior officials,” and that these activists helped to craft the EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) that regulates carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants.

The New York Times found similar connections last year: “Indisputable, however, is that the Natural Resources Defense Council was far ahead of the E.P.A. in drafting the architecture of the proposed regulation.”

Analyzing the EPA’s strategy, Mr. Horner commented: “The issue is solely whether Congress will stop EPA from unlawfully winning by losing, which is to say, using sham rulemaking to metastasize its desired harms before the typical timeline of litigation allows for intervention. The public needs to consider this illegality and cynical lawlessness when the President stands up with the EPA administrator … to lecture us all about how they’re just doing the right thing.”

Question: If the EPA and the Obama administration are doing the right thing, why did they feel compelled to break the law?

The EPA is expected to finalize the CPP this week, and may already have done so by now. According to comments from the White House, this new version of the plan is even stronger than last year’s proposal, which was objectionable enough to prompt several states to file suit opposing the rule, and to outrage some labor unions.

Even before this stronger version of the plan had been developed, United Mine Workers of America president Cecil Roberts said the CPP would result in tens of thousands of union members losing their jobs. Doing the right thing “will lead to long-term and irreversible job losses for thousands of coal miners, electrical workers, utility workers, boilermakers, railroad workers and others without achieving any significant reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions,” Mr. Roberts said in a statement. In addition to the thousands who have already lost their jobs, he estimates that the rule will cause 75,000 job losses in the coal sector by 2020, rising to 152,000 by 2035.

Apparently unconcerned with the thousands of American workers whose lives will be turned upside-down, an EPA spokesperson said, “The Clean Power Plan follows our clear legal authority under the Clean Air Act,” adding that, “The supreme court has decided multiple times that EPA has an obligation to regulate greenhouse gases,” without apparent concern for the repercussions.

The EPA, like all federal agencies, is duty-bound to enthusiastically adhere to only one ideology, and that is the one outlined by the U.S. Constitution.

The EPA, or any federal agency, may properly seek input from any individual or organization, but they may not take information or advice exclusively from one side without providing the opportunity for opposing points of view and data to be provided, and to objectively consider all points of view to arrive at a fair and sensible conclusion.

Out of control actions by agencies of the federal government are much too frequent, and repercussions for this inappropriate, intolerable and sometimes-illegal behavior are nearly non-existent. A number of people should be fired, and a few deserve to be indicted.

Don’t hold your breath!

James Shott is a columnist for the Bluefield Daily Telegraph, and publishes his columns on several Websites, including his own, Observations.

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