EPA Facts

Category Archive: Uncategorized

  1. EPA Social Media Campaign Breaks the Law

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    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has stooped to a new low. A new report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), the federal government’s watchdog, found the EPA used a “crowdspeaking platform” called Thunderclap to spread an activist environmental agenda across Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms. The agency sought to promote the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, which was first introduced by President Obama as a way of expanding the federal government’s control over national waterways—from small streams to large lakes.

    According to The New York Times, the EPA engaged in “covert activity intended to influence the American public” through “grass-roots lobbying” on behalf of the Obama administration, a clear violation of its stated nonpartisan objectives as a federal agency. And it was part of a broader effort to “[bypass] traditional news organizations.”

    In the past, the EPA has joined hands with the radical Sierra Club and pro-Obama lobbying group Organizing for Action to promote crippling environmental regulations on American agriculture. And the political connection doesn’t end there: The agency’s former communications director, Thomas Reynolds, now works at the White House to “push the president’s global warming message.” (Reynolds was an Obama campaign aide before joining the EPA.)

    The agency is hell-bent on peddling partisan environmentalism—even when the law gets in the way.

  2. EPA Offers Paid Leave to Employee Caught with Pot at Work

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    Should an employee caught with marijuana at work be put on paid leave? Well, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the answer is yes. Earlier this week, The Daily Caller reported that one EPA employee received 7.5 months of paid leave “after being arrested, jailed and indicted for possession of marijuana”—according to a recent EPA inspector general report.

    Said employee eventually settled on a six-month, taxpayer-funded vacation, before voluntary retiring from the agency altogether in October.

    This is nothing new: A 2014 IG report revealed that eight EPA employees who violated workplace conduct policies totaled almost 21,000 hours of paid leave and cost taxpayers nearly $1.1 million. (Four of them were on paid leave for over a year.) In fact, the salary cost of EPA employees on administrative leave from 2011 through 2013 was more than $17.5 million. And some employees excused for disciplinary reasons were even rewarded with scheduled pay raises when they returned to work.

    It’s a prime example of big-government bureaucracy gone haywire. The EPA’s long history of fiscal mismanagement already includes spending nearly $100 million on office furniture, which some employees used to watch porn in the office. Apparently, you can now add marijuana to the agency’s list of guilty pleasures—all on the taxpayer’s dime.

  3. EPA’s Fancy Office Furniture Costs Taxpayers Nearly $100 Million

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    How much should a government agency spend on office furniture? A new report from the Washington Times finds over the past decade, the EPA has spent $92.4 million on furniture “ranging from fancy hickory chairs and a hexagonal wooden table.” That’s roughly $6,000 per agency employee.

    The agency was warned about its overspending on furniture back in 2003 in a report by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, but clearly not much has changed. The fancy chairs may make it more comfortable for agency employees to watch porn at work, though perhaps they weren’t comfortable enough to convince John Beal to show up to work rather than pretend to work for the CIA.

    Fancy furniture is far from the only way the EPA is wasting taxpayer money. Earlier this week, the Washington Free Beacon reported a former EPA official in San Francisco spent more than $70,000 of taxpayer money flying nearly every weekend to his home in Orange County. Though the trips were clearly not work-related, he charged taxpayers for miles and meals while at home.

    Coverage of EPA employee misconduct is piling up as the agency continues to do damage control after releasing 3 million gallons of contaminated water into a Colorado River and prepares to release its new limits on ozone, predicted to be the most expensive federal regulation ever.

  4. EPA Accidentally Releases 3 Million Gallons of Contaminated Water

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    The EPA–the agency supposed to ensure our water is safe to drink–confirmed it accidentally released enough contaminated mine water to turn a Colorado river orange. The estimated 3 million gallons of wastewater came from an abandoned Colorado mine, carrying “metals pollution” into the nearby Animas River. Thanks to the EPA’s mistake, the river now contains high levels of arsenic, aluminum, lead, and cadmium. And since the Animas River flows into the San Juan River, which flows into the Colorado River, the EPA’s carelessness contaminated water that feeds much of the West.

    The river is closed to kayakers and swimmers until further notice. At least when EPA employees spend their time watching porn or sexually harassing co-workers, Americans don’t have to worry about whether their water is safe to drink.


  5. EPA Unveils $360 Billion Carbon Rule

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    President Obama unveiled his EPA’s final rule to regulate emissions from existing power plants–a rule expected to cost the U.S. economy more than $360 billion, raise household energy prices, and increase reliance on expensive and unreliable electric sources like wind and solar.

    For all this economic hardship, the EPA’s analysis of its proposed rule projects the limits will only reduce global temperature by 0.02 degrees Celsius by 2050. That’s infinitesimal compared to the United Nations climate change panel’s projection that global temperatures will increase by roughly 1 degree Celsius over the same time period.

    In his announcement, President Obama praised the rule as a step to fighting asthma, particularly among minority childre3n, asthma rates have increased in recent decades even as air pollution has decreased significantly. Minorities aren’t expected to fare well under the EPA’s rule: A study by the National Black Chamber of Commerce estimates the rule could increase black poverty by 23 percent and increase Hispanic poverty by 26 percent and cause the loss of 7 million jobs for black Americans and 12 million jobs for Hispanic Americans by 2035. Obama and his EPA are imposing billions of dollars in economic costs on everyday Americans, with little to show for it.



  6. EPA Fails to Take Sexual Harassment Seriously

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    Today, EPA Administration Gina McCarthy heads in front of the House Oversight and Government Reform Panel to defend the agency’s response to allegations of employee sexual misconduct. Three EPA employees plan to testify that the agency failed to take steps to correct complaints of racism and sexual discrimination.

    The EPA has a terrible track record of punishing such behavior. In February, the EPA’s inspector general, testified before Congress that his watchdog office tried to talk to one senior EPA official who was suspected of sexually harassing over a dozen women over 10 years. Instead of facing disciplinary action, the official retired with full government benefits and no investigation or fallout. The inspector general said the case was just one example of the agency block his office’s investigations of wrongdoing, sexual abuse, and whistleblower retaliation.

    McCarthy seems to have done little to improve things for agency employees. As Karen Kellen, leader of the union representing EPA employees states, “These are not unknown or hidden problems. These problems have been aired but continue to be ignored. I present a few of those examples here today, there are many more that could be provided given the widespread management issues at EPA.”


  7. Government Report: EPA Workers Got Away with Timesheet Fraud, Porn Watching at Work

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    Allegations of employee misconduct are nothing new at the Environmental Protection Agency. It’s been well established that its employees have been found watching porn at work and faked actually showing up to the office. Now, a new report by the Inspector General (IG) accuses the EPA of creating a “culture of complacency” by refusing to take actions against employees clearly breaking the rules.

    It took the agency 11 months to fire an executive who, instead of doing his job at the EPA during work hours was working in a paid, private sector job. During his “moonlighting” he received an award for his work–and a $33,928 extra payday.

    The two employees found watching porn at work (while earning $120,000 per year) continued to receive their paychecks for a year while on “paid administrative leave” before any action was taken to fire them. One employee got to retire (and continue to collect retirement benefits) and the other remains on paid leave.

    In fact, the agency is currently paying eight employees accused of misconduct to sit at home and do nothing while the agency investigates their cases–costing taxpayers over a million dollars.

    This isn’t the first time the IG has highlighted the EPA’s inability to respond quickly to employee misconduct–a 2007 report documented similar widespread problems.

    Instead of updated the disciplinary handbook (which hasn’t been revised since 1998), EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy “took care” of the issue by sending out a memo to EPA employees asking them to come forward when they suspect their coworkers of wasting money, committing fraud, etc. Problem solved.

  8. EPA Awards Sexual Harassment and Porn-Watching with Promotions and Bonuses

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    A hearing of the House Oversight Committee hearing titled “EPA Mismanagement” today resulted in a number of embarrassing headlines for the embattled agency. Lawmakers from both sides of aisle lined up and launched a “bipartisan assault” over employee misconduct and EPA management’s response.

    One employee accused of sexually harassing 17 women (including a 21-year-old intern). Rather than being disciplined, he was promoted to Assistant Administrator of the EPA’s Office of Homeland Security, prompting Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) to comment: “It appears you sexually harass someone, and you might just get a promotion.”

    The Hill also reported that two other employees remained on the payroll for months after being accused of viewing pornography at work, including one who was witnessed “by a child who was at the office for Bring Your Daughter or Son to Work Day.”

    Assistant Inspector General for Investigations Patrick Sullivan told the committee that an “employee admitted that— for approximately 2 to 6 hours during his assigned work hours daily, over a period of ‘several years’—he had viewed and downloaded pornographic images on EPA computer equipment” and didn’t think he had done anything wrong. The same employee was given several performance awards during this time, including bonuses that ranged from $600 to $2,000.

    This is far from the EPA’s first tangle with accusations of mismanagement and employee misconduct–remember John Beale? Unfortunately, as today’s hearing made clear, the agency hasn’t learned much from its mistakes.

  9. Congress Takes Aim at EPA “Secret Science”

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    The U.S. House is expected to vote soon on a bill designed to enhance transparency at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Ca.) said recently that the House will take up a measure aimed at EPA’s “secret science” when Congress returns after the midterm elections.

    As we’ve detailed before, EPA often fails to disclose to the public the science that serves as the basis for its regulations. The bill, the Secret Science Reform Act of 2014, would bar the EPA from proposing or finalizing any rule without first releasing all of the scientific information used to justify the rule.

    Sadly, EPA’s lack of transparency is nothing new. Rather, it is endemic of a larger cultural problem throughout the agency. For instance, EPA has been accused of withholding important information from the public, such as when EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy deleted all work-related text messages from her EPA-provided cell phone—she claimed the messages were “personal” even though recipients included many of her coworkers.

    This follows in the footsteps of Administrator McCarthy’s predecessor, Lisa Jackson, who resigned in 2012 after it was discovered that she was using an alias, “Richard Windsor,” and secret email address to conduct official agency business and, like McCarthy, illegally skirt disclosure requirements.

    President Obama claimed that his administration would be the most transparent in U.S. history. However, when it comes to his EPA, the president has failed to back up his word. With billions of dollars in costs and thousands of jobs on the line, the American people deserve transparency and accountability from EPA.

  10. Report: EPA Rule to have Massive Costs, Minimal Climate Benefit

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    As we’ve noted recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) so-called “Clean Power Plan” will shutter coal plants and raise electricity rates, just as President Obama promised. A new report sheds further light on the extent of the damage.

    The report, conducted by Nera Economic Consulting, finds that the carbon emissions rule would cost consumers and businesses at least $41 billion annually, or $366 billion by 2031, and cause Americans’ electric bills to rise by 10% or more in 43 states—14 of these states would see increases of 20% or more.

    In addition, the proposed rule would drastically reduce the nation’s power generation capabilities, forcing the closure of 45,000 megawatts of coal production—more than the total capacity in all of New England. Despite all these costs, Nera finds the proposed rule would reduce global temperatures by just 0.02 degrees—the equivalent of less than two weeks’ worth of China’s carbon dioxide emissions.

    The negative impacts of this rule are only exacerbated when coupled with the costs of additional EPA regulations, like the mercury rule. As we’ve explained before, the mercury rule stands to be the single most expensive regulation in U.S. history, with annual costs approaching $10 billion (if the carbon rule doesn’t surpass it).

    While there may have been a time when additional EPA regulations were needed, air quality in the U.S. is the highest it has been in more than thirty years. However, EPA continues to propose regulations that impose steep economic costs for minimal environmental returns. The Nera report is just the latest indictment against a regulatory agency that continues to push its radical agenda at the expense of average Americans who are just trying to keep their lights on.