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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Matt Doheny Criticizes Bill Owens for Imaginary Accomplishments

September 4, 2012 at 11:00 am (Bill Owens, Economy, Jobs, Matt Doheny, New York, NY-21, Regulations, Stupid Regulations, Watertown)

In Bill Owens’ new commercial, the Democrat says that “instead of creating stupid regulations, let’s create some jobs.”
 
“I totally agree – which is why I wish my opponent’s actions actually matched his words,” said Matt Doheny, the Republican, Conservative and the Independence parties’ candidate in the 21stCongressional District. “The truth is this: Our current congressman has supported several ‘stupid’ regulations pushed by President Obama’s administration – and now there are 5,000 more people out of work in his district than there were when my opponent first went to Washington.”
 
In his commercial, Owens cites the following “stupid” regulations:

·      Limiting dust on farms: But according to Bloomberg, the “EPA had never proposed tightening rules on farm dust, and the agency said lawmakers were raising concerns based on a myth about the rulemaking.” [10/17/11]

·      Preventing teens from working on the family farm: The Department of Labor said its decision to withdraw the proposed rule “was made in response to thousands of comments expressing concerns about the effect of the proposed rules on small family-owned farms.” [04/26/12]

·      Classifying spilled milk as an oil spill: The Watertown Daily Times said the EPA first proposed exempting bulk milk tanks in January 2009 – 11 months before Owens took office. [06/20/10]
 
“My opponent was smart not to take credit in his commercial for ending any of these ‘stupid’ rules,” said Doheny. “One was imaginary. One prompted a collective outcry. And the third was already being settled before he took office.”
 
Doheny continued: “You may not see it in a commercial, but our congressman has supported several ‘stupid’ Obama administration regulations that would surely lead to job losses.”
 
Those include:
 
·      Cement: Owens voted twice against bipartisan legislation that would have delayed implementation of EPA rules against cement manufacturers that would have been cost-prohibitive or “effectively impossible to meet,” prompting layoffs or jobs moving overseas. [Roll Call #764, 10/6/11]

·      Protecting Jobs from Government Interference Act: After Boeing made a $2 billion investment in South Carolina and created more than 2,000 jobs, the National Labor Relations Board tried to block the company from moving a production line there and adding more jobs. Owens voted against this bipartisan bill, which would have stopped the NLRB’s legal complaint from proceeding. [Roll Call #711, 9/15/11]

·      TRAIN Act: Owens voted against the bipartisan Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation (TRAIN) Act, which would delay implementation of new EPA standards for utilities. The bill was in response to the Obama administration’s push for environmental standards that would have threatened the jobs at more than 1,000 power plants and caused customers to pay up to 24 percent more for their electricity. [Roll Call #741, 9/23/11]

·      Project labor agreements: President Obama pushes project labor agreements for all federal construction work. Bill Owens has defended this anti-competitive, costly practice by voting four times against House efforts to either prohibit PLAs as a requirement for federal construction projects or to give contractors the option. (Roll Call #302, 5/31/12; Roll Call #267,5/17/12; Roll Call #413, 6/13/11; Roll Call #126, 2/19/11)

·      Quickie elections: With the Owens supported “card check” legislation stalled in Congress, the Obama administration proposed changing the rules for union elections – dramatically shortening the time employers would have to prepare for employee unionization. This would create uncertainty for every private-sector employers and could increase labor costs. Owens voted against the bipartisan Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act, which would have reined in the Obama administration’s attempt to impose drastic changes to the workplace. [Roll Call #869,11/30/11]

·      BULB Act: Owens voted against the bipartisan Better Use of Lightbulbs Act, which would have allowed the sale of inexpensive incandescent light bulbs to continue. Instead, he voted to uphold new standards that will push Americans to use costlier fluorescent bulbs, the majority of which are manufactured in China. [Roll Call #563, 7/12/11]

·      REINS Act: Owens voted against the bipartisan Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act, which would have required Congress to take an up-or-down vote on major regulations proposed by the administration. It would make members more accountable, and provide a check-and-balance to bureaucratic overreach. [Roll Call #901, 12/7/11]

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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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