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Nancy Smith

The Sheer Criminality of the EPA

December 20, 2015 - 9:00pm

Some time ago I had an epiphany about climate change. I came to realize it's not so much that conservatives don't buy into it, it's that they don't trust a word out of the mouth of the Obama Administration's lawless, monster of an Environmental Protection Agency.

The agency has thoroughly earned their distrust.

That came home to me again Friday in a Wall Street Journal story, "The EPA's Secret Staff," in which a WSJ reporter revealed the EPA's secretly worked with environmental lobbyists to craft its Clean Power Plan regulating greenhouse gases. Through the Freedom of Information Act, the Energy & Environment Legal Institute obtained government emails that blow the whole scam wide open.

According to the Journal, "The emails show this secret alliance designed a standard that would be impossible or economically ruinous for existing coal plants to meet -- in order to force their closure."

This is serious business, and frankly, further proof the states and businesses suing the Obama Administration's anticarbon Clean Power Plan are going down the right path.

The newspaper claims they have enough evidence to go after a preliminary injunction.

As it happens, the New York Times dropped the first hint of wrongdoing in this affair more than a year ago. The Times reported that in 2014 three environmentalists with roots at the Natural Resources Defense Council -- Dan Lashof, David Doniger and David Hawkins -- drafted a 'blueprint' that 'influenced' the greenhouse gas rules. 

"That wasn’t the half of it," says the WSJ.

The emails show Lashof, Doniger, Hawkins and other environmentalists essentially wrote the rule. 

"Their inside man was Michael Goo, who worked at the NRDC before becoming the EPA’s associate administrator for the Office of Policy," says the Journal. "The emails show intense 2011 communications between Mr. Goo and high-level officials at the NRDC, the Sierra Club and the Clean Air Task Force. Mr. Goo used a private Yahoo email account to send multiple drafts of his options memo to these outside groups, which returned them with draft instructions."

Apparently, Goo was a kind of chief of espionage. He kept the outsiders apprised of internal EPA deliberations. In one email on May 11, 2011, Conrad Schneider, an official at the Clean Air Task Force asked Goo to send him the “latest unit efficiency concept” the agency is debating.

Goo, meanwhile, was briefing outside groups like the Sierra Club on his discussions with then-EPA chief Lisa Jackson. "The collaboration on standards and algorithms is so detailed that at one point Mr. Schneider chides Mr. Goo that he needs to keep his 'units straight' since he is confusing concepts," says the Journal.

The big question is, do these emails -- and printed out, there are a stack of them -- violate the Administrative Procedures Act, which governs the writing of regulations and takes a dim view of outside, special-interest organizations secretly drafting government rules? 

The WSJ claims they might also violate the Federal Advisory Committee Act that requires federal officials to interact with private entities in a prescribed and open manner.

Let's not forget, the EPA is already facing a legal challenge for violating the Federal Advisory Committee Act by secretly working with environmentalists on its pre-emptive veto of Alaska’s Pebble Mine.

Here's what Jeff Holmstead, a former EPA assistant administrator in the Bush Administration, had to say. “I’ve been involved with EPA regulations for more than 25 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this before. It is remarkable that a senior official would use a private email account to evade federal law and secretly give an outside group a seat at the table when regulations are being developed.”

The EPA emails are extensive and egregious.

When the Journal asked the Sierra Club to respond, its spokesman declined. Goo has since left the EPA and "a spokesman for (Goo) dismissed our questions as 'a red herring' raised by 'a professional climate skeptic.'"

The EPA pooh-poohed the story. The “Clean Power Plan was developed through an extensive public outreach process,” they said, "with hundreds of stakeholders at public hearings. For an action that generated 4.3 million public comments, to imply that one group or person had any undue influence on the Clean Power Plan’s development is ridiculous and absurd.” 

To hear the EPA tell it, Goo shared his work product with all those commenters.

The WSJ gives credit for exposing the emails to Chris Horner, an attorney for the Energy & Environment Legal Institute. Horner pursued the FOIA requests as relentlessly as Javert pursued Jean Valjean in "Les Miserables." 

"That job has taken longer than it should have," writes the Journal, "because Mr. Goo withheld his private Yahoo emails from the EPA for years, despite the law’s clear intent that official communications be subject to FOIA."

It's a good time here to pause and be grateful that Florida is part of a multi-state bipartisan lawsuit against the EPA attempt to seize regulatory control over large categories of state waters, called the Waters of the United States rule. Look at all that's happened. Look at what's happened here with the Clean Power Plan. Is it any wonder conservatives are calling for the breakup of this behemoth federal bureaucracy that does what it pleases and makes up the rules as it goes?

Incidentally, there is little defense of the EPA among the dozens of comments on this Wall Street Journal story. Here are a few examples:

"So; now that the 'science' has been proven to be COMPLETELY gamed we find that hasn't stopped the chicken littles from stopping the sky from falling. Libidiots, the lot of them!" -- Kevin Roeder 

"I hope coal, rail and utility companies and their largest shareholders are dusting off their attorneys to crank out multi-billion dollar lawsuits that attempt to recoup losses caused by this corruption. Too bad those that lost jobs, retirements, homes and nest eggs don't have such options. -- John Klimchak

"I hope Trump breaks another taboo and promises to prosecute these apparatchiks from prior administration...." -- John Kerrison

The last comment is particularly telling. I think we may have a clue to the genesis of the frustration among many Americans that produced the Donald Trump Phenomenon of 2015.

Reach Nancy Smith at or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith  


In the early years of the Bush Administration, Dick Cheney met privately with lobbyists from the energy industry to draft U.S. energy policy and U.S. military policy. Environmentalists were not offered a seat at the table, and the records of the meetings were kept secret using "executive privilege". Why is it that working to protect the environment is considered criminal, while working to destroy it (and to destroy oil-rich nations) is considered to be the normal course of business? I am guessing this double-standard is because of your political bias, or possibly the marching orders you got from the oil industry.

I'm with you. What's wrong with the EPA working in conjunction with concerned scientists to protect the environment?

Nancy, your comments are as corrupt as what you *think* you're writing about! Nevertheless, wishing EVERYONE a VERY and Merry (but SAFE) Christmas!

OFF WITH THEIR HEADS !!! (Oh yeah,... that's what Shar'ia Law holds in store for them... among other things...)

Wow, the WSJ comment boards don't like the EPA? Case closed! How weak does your argument have to be before you turn to the WSJ comments to "prove" your point? Now we know. Well done, Nancy! Now go collect your check from the Koch Brothers.

You get upset at what they are doing to protect the environment. You do the same with the Koch brothers to pollute it. The pot calling the kettle black.

Climate change because global warming was too ridiculous. Consensus science is faith and political power combined. Climate is cyclical. President Obama has more heart in the un-proven climate change of minor amounts than defending this nation which is his primary job. He is an apologist for Islamists. The EPA is famous for its abuses. We need government closer to the people like the writers of the constitution envisioned. Washington is bloated beyond the ability to manage it.

There is a principle known as the precautionary principle which holds that, when the potential consequences are great, you should exercise much greater caution. This principle, which is the sort of common sense that a grandfather would pass on to his children and grandchildren, is ignored by people who insist on the right to continue to burn unfathomable amounts of hydrocarbons because it hasn't been "proven" that all of the carbon you are adding to the atmosphere is causing great change to the world climate. It leaves me shaking my head.

There is a principle known as the precautionary principle which holds that, when the potential consequences are great, you should exercise much greater caution. This principle, which is the sort of common sense that a grandfather would pass on to his children and grandchildren, is ignored by people who insist on the right to continue to burn unfathomable amounts of hydrocarbons because it hasn't been "proven" that all of the carbon you are adding to the atmosphere is causing great change to the world climate. It leaves me shaking my head.

Yes, yes, you must be right --> "un-proven climate change of minor amounts" . . . . . I mean, it's not like four previous REPUBLICAN EPA administrators just recently gave testimony before Congress that climate change is real, man-made, and critical for the US to address, now is it: WILLIAM RUCKELHAUS (Nixon, Reagan) - "Several months ago, after talking with one another, the four former EPA administrators sitting in front of you found we were convinced by the overwhelming verdict of scientists that the earth was warming and that we humans were the only controllable contributor to this phenomenon . . . We all feel strongly that something should be done (about climate change) and we should get on with this . . . The IPCC report validates in the strongest terms the science of climate change and the projected impacts . . . We believe there is legitimate scientific debate over the pace and effects of climate change but no legitimate debate over the fact of the earth's warming or over man's contribution . . .This is an extremely complex problem whose solutions are not straightforward. We believe this is no excuse for complacency or not stepping up to our responsibility." LEE THOMAS (Ronald Reagan) - "We know that communities in our country are already dealing with the effects of the changing climate today. In my state of Florida, we see increasing salt water intrusion infiltrating our drinking water supply due to sea level rise. Coastal communities are dealing with the impact sea level rise is having on their drainage systems, resulting in an investment of more than $300 million to upgrade flood mitigation infrastructure in Miami Beach alone. The economic impact is undeniable, and local governments struggle to address today’s impacts of climate change while trying to anticipate the increased risk it poses in the future . . . We know there are many approaches that can be taken, and all are controversial . . . (EPA's recent moves) once again position the U.S. to demonstrate international leadership." WILLIAM REILLY (George H. W. Bush) - "While the President has taken many important steps, a full and constructive response is needed from Congress . . . The longer we delay, the more adverse the impacts will be, and the more expensive to address them . . . not only is climate change likely to affect natural resources and public health, but it will have profound effects on our economy." CHRISTINE TODD WHITMAN (George W. Bush) - "We have a scientific consensus around this issue. We also need a political consensus . . . The issue has been settled. EPA does have the authority (to regulate carbon omissions). The law says so and the Supreme Court has said so twice. The matter should be put to rest." . . . . . . . Know-Nothing denial is just so . . . . . . . PATHETIC . . . .

Well stated.

Again FF shills like the WSJ, Nancy, try to make mountains out of molehills. --------------------------------------------------------- So Nancy I guess you want to be like China as before the EPA, clean water and air acts which repubs made, not democrats, got so bad 90% of US rivers, lakes, streams were not fit to fish or swim in.--------------------------------------- The fact is unless you control business and people they will dump anything no matter even if it kills people has been proven time and time again.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- And the Feds have always had legal over all navigable waters even by canoe as one of the first laws made by the US.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ That even not connected waters supply everyone their drinking water doesn't seem to bother Nancy. But I bet when they show up in her water she screams the loudest saying how could you let them do this to us! Yet it is you Nancy that lets them. You should be so proud.

Ahem, it's the "climate change" globalists who want to make 3rd world into the next China and India. To expand middle class consumerism, industrialize them and add in "women's rights" to get more wealthy UN voters and aid. It'll make Africa and Latin Am. into the next Chinas. Happy now??

Your bias towards ignorance is showing again.

The environmental and global climate movements are attempts to complete the unification of nations under a one-world government - a process that began seventy years ago. These unreported events at Konan, Korea in <b>AUG-SEPT 1945</b> changed the course of world history and initiated the decision to unite warring nations under the United Nations on <b>24 OCT 1945.</b>

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nancy smith
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