Republicans Claim Dirty Politics Pollute EPA Process: Big Polluters Not Consulted

In their never-ending search for dirt on the Obama administration, Republicans have finally gotten around to checking outdoors; according to Darrel Issa (R-CA) and David Vitter (R-LA), people at the Environmental Protection Agency have been colluding with environmentalists to protect the environment. I’ll give you a second to let that sink in.

Over the summer, the folks at the White House announced that Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a non-profit international environmental advocacy group, had developed a “blueprint” America could follow to reduce carbon emissions and address global climate change. As Rebecca Leber reported in The Atlantic:

Obama Administration officials speak with advocacy groups when making policy, just like their predecessors and their counterparts on Capitol Hill. That’s called governing.


Republican chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Darrell Issa, photographed by Jim Lo Scalzo of the EPA

Correction: it was called governing until January 20, 2009, at which point clenching your jaw, scowling and claiming everything the executive branch is doing is some kind of nefarious, dictatorial overreach by a bloated and inefficient bureaucracy run amok became the norm. Actual governing, for Republicans, meant simultaneously preening and snarling for the cameras during endless committee meetings that revealed everything America already knew from reading the local papers.

Yes, the Obama administration considered the “blueprint” provided by NRDC, and there are similarities between that document and what the EPA is currently recommending as official policy. Yes, EPA chief Gina McCarthy shared “friendly emails” with NRDC and others who are concerned with protecting our environment. No, there is nothing no more “improper” about the supposedly “cozier” relationship the EPA had with environmentalists than lobbyists hired to defend carcinogenic pollution and carbon emissions.

Speaking of polluters, it might be instructive to examine Darrell and David’s campaign finance reports submitted to the Federal Elections Commission, to see if there’s any conflict of interest. I’m sure that nestled “cozily” inside the balance sheets are line items from “pass-through entities” like the Koch-funded Club for Growth, or (soon to be former) Representative Eric Cantor’s “Every Republican is Crucial PAC.” But, I digress.

The EPA released this statement:

The Clean Power Plan was developed through an extensive public outreach process – one that engaged tens of thousands of people across the country. EPA consulted with states, power companies, local communities, environmental groups, associations, labor groups, tribes, and many more.

Expect swift action from both the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to get to the bottom of this shameless government overreach — just as soon as they get back from vacation.

H/T: Maddow Blog | Photos: Creative Commons, Jim Lo Scalzo, EPA

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