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The recent report issued about the relationship between fracking and drinking water is a classic example of how the elite media generates fake news, in the effort to virtue signal and get readers. In June of last year, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a report indicating that fracking isn’t causing widespread damage to the nation’s drinking water.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency—after a four-year study that is the U.S. government’s most comprehensive examination of the issue to date—concluded that hydraulic fracturing, as being carried out by industry and regulated by states, isn’t having “widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water.”

When Donald Trump makes his final cabinet nomination, it will be hard to pick out which of the bold selections is most golden. Retired Marine General James Mattis as Secretary of Defense was in the running for my top choice. However, it appears that Myron Ebell, the climate change "criminal" who is spear-heading Trump's EPA transition team, was busy identifying a nominee for EPA Chief who just bumped "Mad Dog" Mattis down a notch on my list.

It has been fascinating to watch the the elite media and Washington insiders reactions to the speed and efficiency of Trump's transition team organization and appointee selection. With so much happening so quickly, I wanted to keep an eye on one of the most troubling agencies under the Obama Administration: The Environmental Protection Agency. The response of the big government bureaucrats in the EPA is likely to offer a clue about how they are going to behave in other federal organizations. Legal Insurrection readers may recall that 27% of federal employees claimed they would quit their jobs if Donald Trump was elected. However, instead of quitting, it's more likely they'll exit a little less gracefully.

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.

Mary Chastain reviewed the impressive list of candidates for Donald Trump's cabinet released by Buzzfeed, featuring well-known politicos such as Rudy Guiliani, Newt Gingrich, and Chris Christie, Ben Carson, and Sarah Palin. However, via Don Surber, comes proof that Trump intends to dramatically change the political climate with his appointments by naming someone with a bit less notoriety to a fairly significant position.
Trump picked Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute, to head his transition team at the EPA.

A few weeks ago, the Environmental Protection Agency rolled out a brand new "Climate Justice" program.
This initiative would be incomplete, however, if it did not target those most disproportionately impacted by climate change. It has been well documented that the impacts of a warming and increasingly unstable climate are already weighing more heavily on underserved, low-income, minority, and tribal communities.
As with Obamacare, Americans who believe that this new program is actually going to improve their lives will be...deeply disappointed.

According to its mission statement, the Environmental Protection Agency acts is protect human health and to safeguard the natural environment. However, since its formation in 1970, the statement may have secretly been amended to include that the agency must also want to go out on a limb for that area. It is at least one explanation for the EPA Inspector General indicating that the organization acted too slowly to address the lead contamination discovered in the Flint, Michigan water supply.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had the authority and information to take decisive action on the lead contamination of Flint's drinking water in June of 2015 -- seven months before it actually acted, a federal watchdog said Thursday. The Office of Inspector General for the EPA said the agency should have issued an emergency order to protect Flint residents from the contaminated water in the summer of 2015. The EPA didn't issue such an order until Jan. 21 of this year.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) will not prosecute an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) employee who had a hand in last year’s massive spill of toxic mine waste that contaminated Colorado's Animas River.
A year-long investigation by the EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) found that the unnamed employee may have broken federal water pollution law and may have made false statements to law enforcement officials regarding the Gold King Mine spill. But after the OIG referred its findings for potential prosecution, the United States Attorney for Colorado, headed by acting U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer, declined last week to pursue the charges, OIG spokesman Jeffrey Lagda said Wednesday. The decision by the Troyer’s office means that no one will be prosecuted as a result of the OIG’s investigation into the incident.

Last week, GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump said he would battle the "regulatory industry" that has prospered under President Obama. The Environmental Protection Agency has been the tycoon of this industry. Now, in what is hopefully a sign of turnaround, a court has ruled in favor of American farmers who have been pitted against the agency in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.
A federal appeals court recently overruled a lower court decision to throw out a lawsuit brought by the National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over its release to environmental groups of personal information on tens of thousands of farmers. In late 2015, a U.S. district court dismissed the NPPC-Farm Bureau suit for lack of standing. But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit in St. Louis ruled that “the associations have established a concrete and particularized injury in fact traceable to the EPA’s action and redressable by judicial relief.”

Residents in the West Calumet Complex in East Chicago got quite a shock over a month ago, when Department of Health officials began testing for lead poisoning and arsenic contamination.
...In a letter from the EPA dated July 11, 2016, [Shantel Allen] was informed that some parts of her yard had lead levels up to 66 times above the lead limit and 55 times above the arsenic limit set by the Environmental Protection Agency. But what shocked her even more was that the letter said her "property was tested for lead and arsenic at the end of 2014." Which means the test was somewhere in a lab, on a shelf, on a desk or getting processed for more than a year and a half before she learned of the danger she and her children were in. "I was pregnant while in this complex -- exposed to lead, sleeping on a contaminated bed, laying on a contaminated couch -- nobody said anything. They kept this very well hidden from all of us," Allen said.

Truly, the 21st century is not turning out as I envisioned. We have been closely following the #FlintWatercrisis. After relying on science, technology, and public policy for decades to guarantee safe drinking water, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency head Gina McCarthy just wrote a letter to Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and Flint Mayor Karen Weaver explaining why the region's water woes are going to continue into the foreseeable future.
...Among the problem areas identified by McCarthy:
  • Flint's water system is oversized for its current and projected water demand, leading to water not moving through the system as designed. This standing water in pipes can erode the residual chlorine that protects against pathogens.
  • "The water treatment plant is not adequately staffed, operated or administered to reliably deliver safe drinking water for years into the future," McCarthy stated. Additional "experienced and expert operators" and improved standard operating procedures and preventive and corrective maintenance programs are needed.
  • The EPA administrator also was critical of city leadership. "Flint needs a city administration that can provide stable, reliable and quick administrative support essential to a well-functioning drinking water system," she stated in her letter....
So while the EPA is struggling to deal with the lead in Flint's water system, another government agency has issued a troubling report on an aquatic contaminant that has become ubiquitous in the public water system: Synthetic estrogen from contraceptives.

The last time we checked the regulatory runoff from the Animas River spill, a 132-page report by the Interior Department and Bureau of Reclamation laid the blame for the contamination at the doorstep of the Environmental Protection Agency. Now, the legal runoff is about to hit.
New Mexico is seeking more than $136 million from the Environmental Protection Agency and the owners of Colorado’s Gold King Mine, noting that dangers from contaminants spewed into the Animas River by the Aug. 5 mine spill are still lurking in New Mexico waters. In a lawsuit filed Monday in federal court, Attorney General Hector Balderas and the New Mexico Environment Department cite economic setbacks and environmental damage suffered by the state after more than 3 million gallons of toxic waste was dumped into the river. It demands reimbursement of $889,327 for short-term emergency-response costs paid by the state, more than $6 million to pay for long-term monitoring of the Animas and San Juan rivers and $130 million for lost income, taxes, fees and revenues suffered by the state because of the spill.

Although very few states still—or ever did—mandate ethanol in gasoline, ethanol-blended gas is widely available; indeed, it can be difficult to find an ethanol-free gas station (if you want to find one near you, try this resource). The blend wall—the percentage of ethanol to gas considered safe for car engines—is 10% or E-10, and past efforts to create and push E-15 have failed.  The little-known practice of automakers quietly voiding warranties on cars whose owners use E-15 gasoline illustrates the industry's understanding of the harm that levels of ethanol passing the blend wall (E-10) causes to car engines.  Triple A also warned against the use of E-15 gas in pre-2012 cars.  Not only are engines—cars, boats, lawn mowers, chain saws, etc.— harmed, but ethanol blended into gasoline, not just the higher E-15 blend but even that at the blend wall, also contributes to a loss of mileage. The percentage of ethanol to gas has been increasing relatively steadily over the past decade as indicated by this graph from Bloomberg:

While the Obama Administration is setting the country on fire with public school transgender bathroom dictates, a Wyoming man has scored a major legal victory against a regulatory Goliath. The Pacific Legal Foundation represented Wyoming rancher Andy Johnson in challenging an EPA compliance order threatening him with $37,500 per day in fines for constructing a stock pond on his property. The PLF lawsuit argued that Johnson’s pond is expressly exempt from the Clean Water Act and that the stream in which he constructed the pond is not a jurisdictional water because it does not affect a navigable water. And, as an extra bonus, a former Corps of Engineers enforcement officer asserted that Johnson's pond has many environmental benefits, including fish and wildlife habitat and enhanced water quality.

The last time we checked on Flint, we learned that the regional Environmental Protection Agency team indicated the city was "not worth going out on a limb for." Perhaps not, but the city now is facing over 50 lawsuits because the EPA decided it didn't need to take any action upon learning about the elevated lead levels in the municipal water supply.
More than 50 lawsuits have been filed since January, accusing the city of being complicit in the water crisis for not doing enough during the 18 months in which Flint was getting its drinking water from the polluted Flint River. That move was a decision made by the state, and it turned out to be a terrible one. The river's highly corrosive water wasn't treated properly by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and the water corroded lead service lines, which then caused lead to seep into the drinking water and poison families.

We noted that the water crisis in Flint, Michigan was 40-years in the making and the situation was worsened by complete bureaucratic failure. However, unlike Hillary Clinton and her emails, the electronic correspondence from regulators and government officials associated with the decision that resulted in Flint residents consuming water with elevated lead concentrations has been released. It is not a pretty picture. One set from the EPA's local regulators indicate that the bureaucrats were prepared to let the situation continued unchecked for several months before proceeding to take any mitigating action.
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