Back to Square One: Unlawful Collusion with Green Pressure Groups Should Doom U.S. EPA's Greenhouse Gas Regulation

EPA_collusion
Washington, D.C. — Today, the Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal), a 501 (c) (3) watchdog group, released an investigatory report, Back to Square One: Unlawful Collusion with Green Pressure Groups Should Doom U.S. EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Regulation  and an appendix of source documents.  The report, which is based on e-mails and other documents obtained under numerous Freedom of Information (FOIA) requests and litigation, details illegal activities by EPA staff, colluding with certain environmental lobbyists to draft EPA’s greenhouse gas (GHG) rules behind the scenes, outside of public view, and to the exclusion of other parties.  More importantly, it clearly shows that EPA must start anew if it wishes to regulate GHGs. (A two-minute companion video is available for use.)
With EPA’s GHG rules going final any day, it is critical to inform the public of the emails detailed in this report for what they show about how EPA has developed these costly public policies with select, ideologically aligned outside interests, and its continuing efforts to obscure and even hide the content of discussions with those same 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.   Since the 2014 report, E&E Legal has pried many hundreds of relevant emails out of EPA in several requests and lawsuits.  The record is not complete, of course, but reflects only those records responsive to E&E Legal’s search terms and that EPA, or its now-departed activist-staffers, decided to produce. EPA continues to improperly withhold certain obviously important information with no conceivable legal justification.

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The Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal) is a 501(c)(3) organization engaged in strategic litigation, policy research, and public education on important energy and environmental issues. Primarily through its petition litigation and transparency practice areas, E&E Legal seeks to correct onerous federal and state policies that hinder the economy, increase the cost of energy, eliminate jobs, and do little or nothing to improve the environment.
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70 thoughts on “Back to Square One: Unlawful Collusion with Green Pressure Groups Should Doom U.S. EPA's Greenhouse Gas Regulation

  1. The Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal) is a 501(c)(3) organization engaged in strategic litigation, policy research, and public education on important energy and environmental issues.

    Not for long …

  2. Hope the folks at E&E have secured the paper trail of the EPA’s initial co2-not-harmful determination. I’ll wager it would make a nice contrast (that is, the initial determination was a proper one, in contrast to the current admin’s “determination first, justify later” approach).

  3. Gosh guys I empathize but I’ve now read the press release and 5 pages of the report and haven’t yet disturbed a single particular fact out of the generalities. Hand the information over to someone who knows how to write like a journalist rather than a lawyer and get an article with zing to it!

    • That’s because it was probably written by Chris Horner, who may be a great attorney, but his writing style has always been a challenge to the reader. And to be fair, I have made this point to him in the past: he needs to get an editor.

      • You need to throw in a ripe admixture of jokes, japes, jests and assorted bon mots, plus some dazzle-them-with-BS big words…for a start.
        Then, once the crowd is loosened up, and just before their eyes begin to glaze over…you hit’ em with the crux of the biscuit.
        THAT is how to file a lawsuit!

  4. A similar situation has existed in the UK, with previous Energy Ministers having been involved in the management of wind or solar energy companies, companies which of course profited from subsides the Energy Minister himself managed. This continued with the full knowledge of the Commons, in spite of it being theoretically in contravention of the rules which limit the holding of corporate interests in a sector over which a politician exercises control.
    Thankfully, Amber Rudd seems to be having none of this nonsense, and I thus (somewhat gleefully) predict belt-tightening times ahead for the subsidy-guzzlers.

    • “Thankfully, Amber Rudd seems to be having none of this nonsense, and I thus (somewhat gleefully) predict belt-tightening times ahead for the subsidy-guzzlers.”
      You’d like to think so. Unfortunately her boss, David Cameron, is in thrall to one of the country’s more egregious subsidy junkies, his father-in-law Sir Reginald Sheffield, who allegedly makes close to half a million pounds a year from wind farms. Thus, sadly, I don’t share your hope.

  5. Here’s one for you all – an insight into the machinations of the governor of the (Once) Great State of Washington, USA. Democratic Governor Jay Inslee has proposed to utilize the State Department of ecology to draft and impose a ‘Carbon (sic)’ Tax on fuel processors and distributors, which will burden State fuel purchasers with another tax, albeit hidden from view. Article attached for your reading pleasure: http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/local/politics-government/article29251300.html
    I find that the significance of Mr. Inslee’s actions lies in his choice to go against our state legislature, which has just recently decided in the latest extra-session stint to tax motor fuels $0.115 instead of instituting a Carbon Tax and Trade Scheme, which has always been Mr. Inslee’s Most Fervent Wish. Well, when he did not get his way through legislative process – he decided to bypass the legislature – and utilize his ‘executive powers’ to require the State Department of Ecology to come up with a Carbon Pollution Reduction Plan or New Emission Standards!! Like POTUS, like son I guess. Can’t get your way through the normal, legal, political processes and procedures? Well then, Post-Normal it is in our Brave New World!!! Use your powers to force your pet plan through your (State) executive branch.. now, where have we heard this one before??? I am beside myself on this new action. Federal tax, new State tax, and now Cap & Trade tax…….on the fuels we require to do our day-to-day commuting. The Regressives at work again. I for one am not a Happy Camper.
    Regards,
    MCR

    • We need to start impeaching these assholes. But it would be “politically incorrect” to impeach the “first black president”…even though he has dissed so many laws and violated the Constitution numerous times. Ok…He get’s a pass I guess, however damaging to us it has been. But the next asshole doesn’t get a free ride and the conservatives should get the chance to screw the left over good to see how they like it and if they want to keep on playing that game. They know it is a game and you can see it in the way they lie to the camera so good…Like Hillary, “I didn’t know those emails were confidential” idiotic statement. Secretary of WHAT?. The Stupid Dept? Fooling who? And the idiots still think she wants to do good for them? I guess it’s all the welfare babies. Who has a job, works hard, raises a family, pays their taxes, obeys the laws and tries to be a good citizen would ever, ever vote for that scum?

      • Unfortunately, millions would. One of the couples we know truly believe that the EPA has been bought, lock, stock, and barrel, by big business/greed. Try talking about things like “Friendly law suits” etc?…you’re out of your mind, obviously.
        The stoopid…it burns.

  6. Hmmm….an administration has a known agenda coming in, and therefore the regulatory bodies, headed by administration appointees, pursue that agenda. Outsiders who agree with the administration make big bucks, work with the Administration to ensure that the administration goals are met in such a way that the outsiders benefit as much as possible.
    We have certainly seen this behaviour in the last three administrations, and in most previous administrations. Didn’t Eisenhower warn against the military-industrial complex?
    Yeah, the administration is guilty as charged. But having outside groups manipulate regulatory agencies that want to be manipulated, unfortunately, is an old story, for either R or D administrations.

    • Agreed, and I try to make this point frequently. They are all crooks, and all completely out of touch with the public.
      I keep waiting for the vast technology that we now have available to be brought to bear on the political system…but not sure it’ll happen anytime soon, and you can bet your beans that the political system will resist any change like that to the utmost of their ability.
      Add to that the average intelligence of the sheeple, and it’s pretty tough to be optimistic about any political outcome in the near future.
      It really does come down to people getting the government they deserve, I guess.

  7. My cynical bone is vibrating….how much mojo does the Energy & Environment Legal Institute carry? They are hardly bipartisan and…under a different name…have been involved in several actions attempting to overturn environmental legislation. As much as I’d like to see this make a difference I doubt the current administration will let this be more than a speed bump in their efforts to control energy policy.

    • I have to agree. With a known partisan source, this ain’t going to cut it. You’ll preach to the choir just fine, but this isn’t going to convince anyone.
      If you want to convert, you need unassailable, quick facts. Two page summary, MAX, with a set of facts. Heck, bullet points, that state “this is what they did”. “this is why this thing is bad”. “this is why this thing is illegal”. Repeat as necessary.
      We are fighting emotions with reason. That’s an uphill battle that can only be won with hard, inarguable facts, and Even then, we can fail to carry the day. Look at the anti-vaccine movement. No rational arguments and based on a demonstratable fraud, but still around. California had to pull the nuclear solution of removing medical free choice to check the madness.
      But this report, it’s not going to even make a splash

      • ATheoK commented: “…Then perhaps you should help….”
        I proselytize and I vote. I’m not wealthy and I don’t do assassinations if you’re suggesting. What else?

  8. Now the question is/ do they have the war chest to go to court. Do they have a petitioner with proper legal standing. First to obtain injunctions, next to have reversal rulings, and finally if court acceptable evidence can be presented then prosecution of parties concerned.
    Also, which Federal Circuit Court hears the case is of importance.
    Let see what if anything happens.
    Also, it never hurts to bring these things to your congress critter’s attention. If you go to the trouble to write to him, it tells him you will go to the trouble to Vote.
    michael

      • Climate Heretic; I agree, hopefully they can work together. But you must remember that it is very difficult to the add new charges to an ongoing case. But giving the information from the FOIA requests to the states would be a good start. Oh one more thing, even States do not have bottomless pickets,. They only have so much they can use for the pressing of these types of cases
        michael

  9. I’d like to point out that the EPA is also moving of the water front and is getting lots of resistance from agriculture about the interpretation of the Clean Water Act they are championing.

    • My neighbor is one of the last remaining small dairy farmers in northern Vermont. He had a site visit by EPA a year ago. There’s a year round creek that runs through one side of his main pasture and the girls like to wander over and drink from it. Yes we know that those H2O molecules make it all the way to the Atlantic (unless they get drunk, absorbed, evaporated …) through the dams on the Connecticut and this is an essential and pure environmental vector for the non-returning Atlantic Salmon who will only procreate in small gravely water in the dappled shadows of sugar maples. (Actually the salmon prefer to run north of us into the cooler Canadian waters with their short fresh river runs to the salt.)
      EPA guy had a questionnaire and one question was, “do the cows just go over for a drink or do they hang out at the creek?” (you know – 5 PM cocktails)
      Understand that this water is navigable, albeit by many strikingly colored, spotted, square tail, native brook trout that seem perfectly able to cohabitate with the cows. But this “hang out” thing was going to be a deal breaker (or maybe ball breaker) of some kind. So with a bit of fencing and creative pipeage plus a bunch of split and torched 55 gallon drums, we’ve erected an ergonometric system of water troughs with runoff back into the creek. The girls love to hang out.
      Upon a recent return visit, the indignant EPA guy said, “but you’ve diverted a stream.” As a Town Official (I realize that is not as impressive as a White House Official – although I’ve never figured out what that is), I produced the Town approved water diversion and return permit.

      • good for you Bubba! In these parts (Pacific Northwest) the BLM and USDA have programs to fence streams running through ranch grazing land and to plant “native” shade trees and shrubbery to keep the creeks cool for steelhead and salmon smolt because apparently somebody suggested that would be a good idea. Really, they pay a rancher to do it! So now the streams which were never strong full time running and in living memory, say at least the last eighty years, have always been so narrow that you can hop across them this time of year, are now expected to irrigate all this new”flora”. The result of course is that the streams simply go dry on the surface and those smolts that haven’t made it to a beaver dam or downstream no longer have ‘habitat”

  10. From a distant view, it looks like the separation of powers hasn’t worked.
    That may well lead to a pretty rapid descent into the pit.
    And as he foremost advocate for democracy and equal opportunities on this planet, doesn’t this make you sad – as it does me.
    Auto – hoping I’ve fixed (most of) the orthographic infelicities . . .

    • Not the only way. The 2nd Amendment is there for exactly this type of administration.

    • Could the next potus (hopefully not a dumbocrat) adopt this same modus operandi and simply do away with the EPA?

      • noaaprogrammer commented:”…Could the next potus (hopefully not a dumbocrat) adopt this same modus operandi and simply do away with the EPA?”
        Almost, they would neuter the EPA by using the same ‘executive powers’ as well as cut down their funding. Disbanding the EPA would be politically damaging because of the emotional issue attached to the word “environment”.

  11. “details illegal activities by EPA staff, colluding with certain environmental lobbyists to draft EPA’s greenhouse gas (GHG) rules behind the scenes, outside of public view, and to the exclusion of other parties. ”
    Oh you mean like the TPP? 🙂

  12. EE Legal and Chris Horner are doing an outstanding and important job in informing the public what’s going on behind the curtains in Washington. This is the way towards a green/red dictatorship. Once the consequences becoming obvious, it will be too late.

    • I did a piece here – EPA: Busted for Ideology – that was based on Chris’s and E&E Legal’s excellent work.
      Chris has also contributed here.

    • Nixon was a piker.
      ==============
      Nixon was vice-president and head of the CIA under Eisenhower. He lost the presidential election to Kennedy. He was in Dallas the day before Kennedy was assassinated. Kennedy’s assassination made it possible for Nixon to go on to become President for 2 terms.
      The CIA hated Kennedy as a result of the Bay of Pigs operation. The CIA specialized in political assassination during the 60’s. Nixon was force to resign during his second term, after CIA operatives were caught breaking into the Watergate Hotel, which was ultimately traced back to the White House and the Nixon Presidency.
      Nixon was no piker. He eliminated the man that defeated him for the Presidency and used the CIA to cover the matter up to this day. Few Americans have any idea of the truth behind their government.

      • Read “The Cold Five Thousand” by Leonard Elmore (not Elmore Leonard who is also a wonderful writer). Leonard Elmore’s style is extraordinary and he writes the CIA-Las Vegas-Bay of Pigs and more tale you speak of.

      • ferdberple: agreed Tricky Dicky was no “piker” but at least he was “for” the United States. As to head of CIA that would be Allen W. Dulles February 26, 1953 – November 29, 1961.
        AS for the Plumbers ah they were not CIA. They were caught on their second try, the first was in may of 1972 the second (the one they were caught in) was June 17 1972. And some of us do know our nation-governments history having lived and grown up in it.
        By the way with who we have now ,, I think Richard Nixon is the lesser of two evils. Just Me.
        michael

      • Ferdberple
        Now myself, I prefer to believe that Fidel Castro, pissed because Kennedy had attempted to have him assassinated, turned the tables and got Kennedy first.
        Now others say the Russians.
        Could have been PETA because Jackie liked to wear fur hats. She was the real target and JFK was collateral damage.
        Eugene WR Gallun

      • Kennedy’s assassination made it possible for Nixon to go on to become President for 2 terms.
        Fred, Fred, Fred…. Let me fix that for you:
        Kennedy’s assassination made it possible for LBJ to serve as President for close to 2 terms.

      • Utter nonsense. But keep adding to the myths the leftists use to choke you. To claim murder on your suppositions and fantasies does not make any sense.

    • Go ahead and miss the point, ferd- see if I care.
      The point? Nixon lied about knowledge (after the fact) of the break- in and the whole world fell on top of him. This administration (whole government, actually) is wracked with scandal after scandal involving deaths, Constitutional abuse and general abuse of power and it’s “ho- hum, oh look- a lion”.

  13. The Energy & Environment LegaltInstitute (E&E Legal) is a 501(c)(3) organization engaged in strategic litigation,
    policy research, and public education on important energy and environmental issues.
    Primarily through its petition
    litigation and transparency
    practice areas, E&E Legal seeks to correct onerous federal and state policies that hinder the economy, increase the cost of energy, eliminate jobs, and do little or nothing to improve the environment.
    ____
    The Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal)
    is all we should be aware off.
    Hans

  14. 29 July: E&E Publishing: EPA poised to push carbon rule compliance to 2022, according to agency document
    by Emily Holden and Rod Kuckro
    U.S. EPA appears to be leaning toward giving states an extra two years — until 2022 — to start cutting carbon emissions from power plants under a final Clean Power Plan rule expected to be rolled out as early as Monday…
    The significant changes are reflected in a PowerPoint slide prepared by EPA’s Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, housed at the Research Triangle Park near Durham, N.C.
    The slide was last modified Friday, July 24, according to digital records, by an employee who has been at the heart of the Clean Power Plan’s development. It was taken down from the EPA website yesterday afternoon after E&E made an inquiry about its contents.
    EPA officials declined to speak on the record about the slide because the rule is not yet final. The slide notes a release date of Aug. 3 for the final rule.
    It still calls for states to meet emissions goals under the rule by Jan. 1, 2030. But it extends the time states have to craft plans, requiring an “initial” state plan by Sept. 6, 2016, and a “final” state plan by Sept. 6, 2018…
    ***States that unsuccessfully sued in a federal court to stop the release of a final rule could view the time extension as still not enough time to replace coal-fired power plants and ensure electric grid reliability…
    The most significant change shown in the timeline pushes out the first emissions reduction requirements to Jan. 1, 2022, two years from the 2020 date originally proposed by the administration…READ ON
    http://www.eenews.net/stories/1060022591

  15. I am really, really angry at what is currently supposed to be our Constitutional Government, of, for and by the people…Where the hell did that idea get chucked out the window? Wasn’t it, “i really don’t want to go to Washington to serve, but I will for my Country”…. “To advocate for what is in everyones interests… security, prosperity and opportunity for all?” . And haven’t we been doing that? I guess not, because everyone has a gripe and their own selfish agenda as a platform for a bitch about what they don’t have. Get your crap together and lift yourself up out of your screwed up attitude, quit complaining and just F**king get on with your life. Be a participant in making things better for all of us instead of forever complaining about your poor, poor self imposed condition. Become part of the human experience /race/gender/religion rather than your selfish, group isolated, group think piece of crap, idiotic ideology. F**kin’ grow the F**k up. Thank you obama…For your great big piece of shit in the sky idealistic, or whatever it is, piece of crap administration, with it’s lawless and childish bulls**t that you think is so special and great. I hope you go to hell for what you have done to us and in history as the biggest fu*k up and traitor ever in the history of the United States of America… Whatever your purpose was or is.
    Whew!!!

    • Dahlquist, best I can tell the process began in earnest on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas. It’s pretty much been accelerating downhill from that point. Recognizing what’s going on and experiencing alarm and anger is a good start, but one’s anger needs to be harnessed and channeled into a useful form. May I propose that all of us who see what you see and are experiencing the anger of near helplessness do what we can in the initial form of protest. Letters and phone calls to elected representatives are a good start, as well as making contact with like-minded folks in a grass-roots connection so that our ideas and efforts can be combined for maximum effect.
      It may not be possible to halt the process, but at least we can make others aware of the danger, slow down the descent into the abyss, and boldly make a stand to defend what has made the USA great–the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Deus obedientia est tyrannis seditionem.

  16. Sheesh, one would only have to read a stockholders report to see the collusion laid out in print between Sierra Club lawyers and public utilities. Been going on for decades.

  17. I’m afraid this is a ‘somebody has to do something’ exercise. Can the E&E Legal Institute initiate anything? If not we have to await some reluctant agency or other to do something. How can one initiate legal proceedings against government breaking the law. We already saw this ‘expose’ many months ago.

    • The U.S. still has the citizens grand jury system which can investigate and issue indictments.
      Has this even been considered?

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