It’s Rather Transparent – The EPA is Hiding Something

November 27, 2012 at 12:50 pm (Chris Horner, EPA, Lisa Jackson, Obama Administration, Regulations)

“Let me say it as simply as I can: Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”

–  Barack Obama, 2008

Suffice it to say, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) failed to receive any transparency memo from the White House in the last four years since the President uttered these words.

Nor are they particularly fond of the rule of law.
Just prior to the election, Senator James Inhofe accused the EPA of either delaying action or ‘punting’ on numerous regulations, in an attempt to garner extra second-term votes for President Obama.  Inhofe also outlined the fact that the President had also twice failed to release a regulatory agenda which would involve the EPA, a violation of federal law in the Regulatory Flexibility Act.
But recent revelations involving the EPA may be a new low in an administration bound proudly in word to the mantra of ‘transparency’, all the while ignoring it in deed.  
From ignoring open-record requests, to creating bogus e-mail accounts and names, the EPA has proven there is no level to which they will not stoop in an attempt to sidestep the era of open government the President has so vociferously hailed.

The Curious Case of Richard Windsor
The tale of Richard Windsor would hardly warrant a blip on the radar of those analyzing the EPA’s activities, save for the fact that Mr. Windsor does not exist. Windsor is in fact EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, the name used as an e-mail alias she has reportedly used to cover her tracks in private correspondence.
The Windsor account may actually have been used by several other executives at the EPA, but a definitive relationship has been proven with Ms. Jackson.
A report from the Daily Caller provides a source which demonstrates “a complete link between the Windsor email address and Jackson”, providing screenshots that show the faux account on three separate computers under her name.
This act, while suspicious in its very nature, actually creates another legal issue for the department.  Investor’s Business Daily explains that, “Federal law prohibits the government from using private emails for official communications unless they are appropriately stored and can be tracked”.
This, according to IBD, has prompted an investigation:
“Because things look suspicious at the EPA, the House Science Committee is investigating the possibility that the agency has conducted business it doesn’t want the public to see. On Friday, the committee delivered letters to the EPA and various agency inspectors general’ seeking to find out if ‘senior personnel have been conducting official business through secretive means such as aliases and private email accounts.’”
What else does the EPA not want the public to see?

Ignoring Lawful Requests
The investigation comes mere months after the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) filed suit over the EPA’s refusal to comply with open records requests. Those particular requests revealed additional ‘secondary’ e-mail accounts created by top officials at the agency, including Obama ‘energy and environment czar’, Carol Browner.
As is addressed in the aforementioned law, such private e-mail accounts are prohibited because the communications cannot be properly stored and tracked. And by way of demonstration, the CEI has confirmed through a memo provided via a previous Freedom of Information Act request, that “the EPA ‘is unable to recreate most of the accounts’ usage histories.’”
Meanwhile, perfectly legal requests made by the CEI in regards to the Jackson/Windsor e-mails have gone unanswered.  
The EPA’s refusal to cooperate on the matter raises questions as to what exactly the Obama administration is hiding.  In fact, the IBD editorial goes so far as to claim that the federal government is “acting as if it’s an authority unto itself.”
The Most Secretive Administration Ever?
The House Science Committee, in letters delivered to the EPA, seeks to find the truth as to whether “senior personnel have been conducting official business through secretive means such as aliases and private email accounts.”
One person involved in the report claims that these secretive actions are more the norm in the administration than they are an aberration.
“Either way, it’s not just the EPA. Chris Horner, the CEI senior fellow who learned about the secret emails while researching his book ‘The Liberal War on Transparency,’ calls the Obama White House ‘one of the most secretive administrations ever.’”
The EPA is certainly giving no reason to think otherwise.  

Summary
We’ve covered the seemingly mundane (ignoring records requests), to the juvenile (creating secret e-mail accounts), to the downright criminal (failing to release a regulatory agenda).  
Do any of these actions strike you as the actions of a ‘transparent’ administration?
The question now progresses from one of ‘Is the Obama administration and the EPA hiding something?’ to ‘What exactly is the Obama administration and the EPA hiding?’  
Perhaps it is the avalanche of anti-coal regulations expected to cost the U.S. economy over $700 billion.  Maybe it is the new power plant rules expected to stop the building of all new coal plants, decimating an industry the President has vowed to bankrupt.  Or, perhaps as Inhofe suggested, it is the very regulations that some experts claim will contribute to the loss of 887,000 jobs annually, and would more specifically “cost $300 billion to $400 billion annual and significantly increase the price of gasoline and home heating.”
Sadly, we can only speculate about an administration so insistent on hiding their true intentions from the American people.

And only time will reveal the detrimental effect caused by the cumulative actions of employees at the EPA.


Cross-posted at FreedomWorks 

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Bill Owens: I Voted Against Jobs Because Nobody Told Me Not To

August 27, 2012 at 1:02 pm (Bill Owens, Economy, EPA, Glens Falls, Jobs, Lehigh Cement Plant, Matt Doheny, New York)

Democrat Bill Owens once again has made the stunning admission that he supports more regulations that hurt job growth – unless someone from his district makes the effort to contact him and tell him to vote no.
 
“A member of Congress has a great responsibility to do their homework and figure out the economic impact of each bill,” said Matt Doheny, the Republican, Conservative and Independence parties’ candidate. “This is the second time my opponent has admitted he voted against a bill primarily because no one told him not to – and then subsequently realized his vote threatened New York jobs.”

The current congressman recently told the Glens Falls Post Star that he voted against an amendment that would have blocked the EPA from implementing a rule on cement manufacturers that would have carried a $1 billion compliance cost. (Roll Call #86, 2/17/11)

“No one in the district contacted me about this,” Owens explained to the reporter.

Although unmentioned in the article, Owens also voted against providing additional time to the EPA to create practical, achievable standards for cement manufacturers. (Roll Call #764,10/6/11)

Both of the congressman’s votes would have increased compliance costs and hurt job growth at Lehigh Northeast Cement Plant, according to the article. Lengthening the time for compliance and relaxing the standard “will take some of the pressure off” the Glens Falls manufacturer “from an economic and a timing standpoint,” Owens admitted.

“My opponent didn’t say if he regrets those bad votes,” said Doheny. “He has, however, admitted that his vote to increase taxes on medical device manufacturers will result in job losses – but decided to work toward repeal only after those companies were drawn into the district he’d like to represent.”

Doheny continued: “My opponent is a very passive congressman. If you’re a business owner, you’ve got to come to him and make the case for why he shouldn’t vote to raise taxes or increase compliance costs. He’s obviously not going to make the outreach himself.”

The candidate concluded: “I’m going to be a true representative. I’m going to call the right people and read the research to figure out the economic impact of my vote before I make it. That’s why I support the REINS Act, which would require Congress to take an up-or-down vote on new economically significant regulations. It holds members accountable to their constituents. My opponent opposes the bill, electing instead to pass the buck to unelected bureaucrats like those in the EPA who come up with and implement these disastrous regulations with zero oversight.”

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EPA Set to Limit Greenhouse Gases From Power Plants

March 27, 2012 at 9:47 am (Carbon Dioxide, Coal, Economy, Environment, EPA, Global Warming, Ideology, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Power Plant, Regulations)

The biggest result won’t be a stemming of alleged man made global warming, it will be the rise in unemployment in states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania. 

Via Free Enterprise:

The Environmental Protection Agency is close to issuing the first limits to cut U.S. greenhouse gases from power plants, with an announcement possible as soon as today, according to people familiar with the matter.


The rules from President Barack Obama’s administration would set emissions for all power plants at the level established for a natural-gas plant, or about half what is released from a coal-burning facility. Any new coal plants would need expensive carbon-capture equipment, according to the people, who declined to be identified before an announcement.


The proposed nationwide standards would be the first by the EPA for carbon-dioxide from power plants, the largest source of those emissions in the U.S. Environmental groups such as the Sierra Club are pressing the Obama administration to issue tight standards to head off an increase in global warming that they warn could be catastrophic.“It will make it nearly impossible to build a new coal plant,” Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, said in an interview. “The market has been moving in this direction already” so the rule “captures the end of an era.”

This comes as no surprise to anybody who paid attention to the President’s intentions prior to his election, in which he promised to bankrupt the coal industry.

Obama, January 2008:  “So, if somebody wants to build a coal plant, they can — it’s just that it will bankrupt them, because they are going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”

When Obama talks of having a laser focus on the economy, what he means is having a laser focus on putting ideology above economy.

Earlier this month, Sean Hackbarth reported on the effects that the administration’s extreme environmental agenda is having, with the announcement of more plany closings:

Yesterday, GenOn Energy, the third-largest U.S. independent power producer, announced they were shutting down power plants, because “forecasted returns on investments necessary to comply with environmental regulations are insufficient.” That’s financial-speak for “Regulations make it too costly to keep them running.”


From Bloomberg:


Shutdowns will begin in June at the units, which don’t generate enough profit to cover the costs of complying with the rules, Houston-based GenOn said today in a statement. The plants, located at eight sites in Pennsylvania, Ohio and New Jersey, generate 3,140 megawatts in the wholesale market overseen by PJM Interconnection. Except for one unit, all of the plants burn coal, according to GenOn’s website.


Jeff Ostermayer at Shopfloor.org reminds us that “These closings will again result in the loss of jobs and have a negative impact on the local communities. Often we forget about the ripple effect of these regulations and how it can impact a small town and community.”

Read the rest here…

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More Coal Plants Closing Due to EPA Regulations

January 26, 2012 at 11:28 am (Coal, Economy, Energy, EPA, FirstEnergy, Jobs, Ohio, President Obama)

Obama the Job Creator strikes again.

From Thurber’s Thoughts:

FirstEnergy today announced the closing of six coal-fired plants, including our plant here in Oregon, Ohio, and three others in our state. We already have some of the highest electricity rates in the state. How much will our rates go up without this local plant?

And what about the employees??? More than 500 employees will be out of work, though some may relocate to other plants or take early retirement. And then there are the ancillary jobs and economic benefits that will decrease, including transportation, office and manufacturing suppliers, etc…

So much for a President who said his number one priority was jobs.

The press release gives the specific reason for the plant closings:

The decision to close the plants is based on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), which were recently finalized, and other environmental regulations.

Read the press release here…

President Obama is not concerned about jobs or economic growth, he is bound to a rigid green tech ideology.  He provided a glimpse of things to come when he said this:

So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.

The President stated that he would actively work to bankrupt a major job-generating industry in America.
We call that ‘killing jobs’.

To the President it’s ‘mission accomplished’.

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