Earlier this month, the EPA lost big when the Supreme Court ruled that the agency had erred during implementation of new regulations governing coal-fired power plants. That blow came on the heels of Congressional action against the EPA’s new “Waters of the United States” rule, which opponents rightly argue amounts to little more than a power grab legitimized under the trappings of “environmentalism.”

It’s an agency under fire; and while it may not be teetering on the verge of total self-destruction, evidence released today suggests that the EPA may be more nervous than they’d like to admit about maintaining a hold on private enterprise. E-mails obtained from the EPA via a FOIA request submitted by the Environment & Energy (E&E) Legal Institute show that agency officials used talking points provided by a left-wing special interest group to sway prominent journalists covering controversial new power plant regulations.

From Lachlan Markay at the Washington Free Beacon:

The emails show Joseph Goffman, the senior counsel of EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, circulating talking points from Center for American Progress climate strategy director Daniel Weiss among EPA colleagues attempting to sell the agency’s controversial power plant regulations to a New York Times reporter.

Weiss emailed Goffman in September 2013 with a series of suggestions for convincing the Times’ Matt Wald of the commercial viability of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology, a vital component of the agency’s stringent power plant emissions regulations.

Five minutes later, Goffman sent an email to five colleagues in his office and the agency’s public affairs division. Unredacted language in the email is identical to language in Weiss’ list of talking points.

Please give Lachlan and the WFB some traffic by clicking through to read the whole thing.

Of course, EPA spokeswoman Melissa Harrison is hedging, saying that “No one forwarded a suggestion as their own, and one email is not representative of how the agency works,” and that “EPA’s priority is reaching out and engaging with the public and stakeholders so we hear from as many voices as possible. Nothing we do is about one individual or group coming up with an idea or suggestion.”

No one expects agency flacks to insulate themselves from talking points favorable to whatever policy it is they happen to be pushing; but if you read through the e-mails, you can sense a level of cooperation—if not collusion—that doesn’t just happen.

The EPA is in trouble, and this copy/paste job just made it worse.

You can read Legal Insurrection’s coverage of the EPA here.


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