Investigation now shows EPA bypassed key laws when rushing water regulations!
I just blogged that Donald Trump picked Myron Ebell, Director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute and a noted climate change skeptic, to head his transition team at the Environmental Protection Agency.
The current head of that agency is feeling the chill wind of change, and is heating up the implementation of environmental regulations ahead of Trump’s inauguration.
“As I’ve mentioned to you before, we’re running — not walking — through the finish line of President Obama’s presidency,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in a staff memo obtained by the Washington Examiner after Trump was declared the winner of Tuesday’s election.
The agency is currently working on regulations for the oil and gas sector, and is finalizing new annual regulations for the nation’s ethanol mandate and renewable fuel blending requirements. The agency is also moving rules related to implementation of its landmark Clean Power Plan for cutting carbon pollution from the nation’s coal utilities to combat global warming.
The eco-activsts at the agency have less that 70 days to engage in regulatory mayhem. Ebell is a staunch opponent of the Clean Power Plan:
Developed by the Environmental Protection Agency, the plan is a far-reaching set of regulations that, by seeking to reduce carbon emissions from electricity generation, could result in the closing of many coal-burning power plants, among other effects.
Mr. Ebell has said that the plan, which has been tied up in the courts since it was finalized in 2015, is illegal. In the interview in Paris last year, he said he hoped whoever was elected president would “undo the E.P.A. power plant regs and some of the other regs that are very harmful to our economy.”
This is not the first time that the EPA as dangerously sped up the regulatory promulgation process. Congressional investigators have asserted that the agency hastily created and implemented the Waters of the United States Act (WOTUS) to appease the White House and environmental activists.
In fact, in their rush, the investigators determined critical elements of oversight required by law were bypassed, despite numerous warnings.
The report also claims EPA sidelined the Army Corps of Engineers throughout the rulemaking process, and top administration officials restricted Corps communications with EPA over WOTUS.
Congressional investigators also found EPA ignored conducting a full analysis on how WOTUS would impact small businesses, as required by federal law. EPA also published its draft rule before the scientific study undergirding the justification for WOTUS was even published, “which creates the appearance that EPA’s policy decisions were foregone conclusions,” committee staffers wrote.
More troubling is Corps officials made “last minute” to an environmental review that “changed the dynamics” of how WOTUS was being evaluated by the government. These changes “EPA’s jurisdiction over certain wetlands and water bodies” and allowed the rule to circumvent a full environmental review as required by law.
Of course, when your rules don’t rely on real science, then there is no need to wait for actual data from detailed studies.
This investigation is probably of small comfort to Montana farmer Andy Johnson who felt the full force of the US Government threatening him with a $37,000/day fine for his legal stock pond related to the implementation of these rushed rules. Though a lawsuit against this action went his way, Johnson and his family still had to endure the stress and hardship related to fighting this legal battle.
It may be too much to hope for that bureaucrats such as McCarthy face serious legal consequences for failing to follow rules set-up to protect Americans from their regulatory antics. But perhaps Ebell can threaten her with a $37,000/day fine for this regulation?
Now that would be real climate justice.