Students of government might be aware that Congress drafts and writes the law and the president signs or rejects those proposals. But that does not appear to be the case when it comes to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The Energy & Environment Legal Institute, a non-profit watchdog group, has obtained emails and documents through Freedom of Information (FOIA) requests and litigation, detailing illegal activities by the staff of the EPA showing how they colluded with certain environmental lobbyists to draft the agency’s greenhouse gas (GHG) rules outside of public view and scrutiny, and to the exclusion of other interested parties — like the taxpayers.
A newly released investigatory report, Back to Square One: Unlawful Collusion with Green Pressure Groups Should Doom U.S. EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Regulation shows the smoking-guns and lays the legal groundwork for a lawsuit that would demand that the EPA follow the law when it comes to their efforts to regulate carbon and other “greenhouse gases.”
It is expected that the EPA’s greenhouse gas rule could become final within days and the documents show how EPA staff members set about to impose these job-killing and costly regulations with ideologically aligned interests to achieve their desired goals. They also went to great lengths to hide the discussions with lobbyists.
“E&E Legal has obtained proof that EPA’s GHG rules are the product of unlawful collusion and are themselves therefore unlawful,” said E&E Legal Senior Legal Fellow Chris Horner and author the report. “Congress or the courts — or EPA, in a moment of rationality — should stop these rules from taking effect before the (intended) anticipatory harms of a sham rulemaking are imposed upon millions of Americans, without years of delay and devastation before the ultimately illegal agency rulemaking is overturned.”
EPA is a regulatory agency tasked with protecting the environment. EPA can regulate greenhouse gases thanks to the Supreme Court’s Massachusetts v. EPA decision. It is not compelled to do so, and it remains prohibited under the law from regulating with an “unalterably closed mind”, for the purposes of completing a “naked transfer of wealth”, or to do the bidding of ideologically aligned pressure groups.
“This pattern of conducting official business in secret and outside of the legal parameters is unfortunately a hallmark of this Administration,” said E&E Legal Executive Director Craig Richardson. “In the case of the EPA, green groups led by the Sierra Club and NRDC set up shop at the EPA, even before Obama took office, with a plan to eliminate the U.S.’s most abundant source of electricity, coal-fired power plants. Part of this was to shift the public’s wealth to renewable energy, where the large benefactors of these same green groups are now poised to make significant money.”
The report comes as President Obama prepares to announce these rules next week, and follows an E&E Legal interim report released last September which also showed that EPA was working with outside green lobby groups on a common regulatory agenda, often with deliberate secretiveness and unlawfully.
This process is certainly not how our Founding Fathers set about to establish a government to laws.