To the horror of American conservatives and job creators, the Environmental Protection Agency has enjoyed a massive expansion in its regulatory authority under the Administration of Barack Obama. The EPA’s public agenda — which includes major regulations to limit industrial, power plant and auto emissions as well as a major expansion of the agency’s authority regulate bodies of water on private land — continues to elicit public censure. However, the agency’s recently revealed backroom dealings are an even bigger threat to American capitalism.
A series of damning emails obtained by the Energy and Environmental Legal Institute through the Freedom of Information Act details how the Obama EPA colluded with environmental activists to kill the Keystone XL pipeline.
Obama and his EPA had no way to overtly kill the project because the Keystone XL pipeline enjoyed hefty bipartisan support in Congress for its potential to increase American energy independence and create at least 20,000 new jobs. For that reason, according to the information gleaned from the Energy and Environmental Legal Institute’s 2012 FOIA requests (which the EPA refused to process for months), the EPA reached out to powerful environmental organizations like the Sierra Club and National Wildlife Fund to come up with a plan to kill the pipeline without major political backlash.
In one communication, Sierra Club Washington Representative Lena Moffitt wrote to Alex Barron, EPA Senior Advisor in the Office of Policy, and the EPA’s Michael Goo and Arvin Genesan, acknowledging a previous strategy session on how the EPA could accomplish its job-killing goal without being held accountable by Americans.
“I know this is a tough issue but please do let me know if I can be helpful in any way — particularly in further identifying those opportunities for EPA to engage that don’t involve ‘throwing your body across the tracks,’ as Michael put it,” she wrote.
The series of emails also serve as a reminder of the EPA’s penchant for hiring green activists like Goo to top positions. Goo has previously worked as the climate legislative director for the Natural Resources Defense Council and served on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Goo also worked for former Representative and current Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.), playing a key role in drafting the 2009 Waxman-Markey climate change bill for the now defunct House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.
“I thank Sierra Club for inadvertently assisting our effort to hold the Obama administration to its promise of transparency. By, according to Ms. Moffitt, repeating in writing what EPA official and former green-group activist Goo only spoke, the public now knows EPA’s involvement, what the Agency told allies it could realistically do to help block Keystone, and that it had opened the floor for suggestions,” E&E Legal counsel Christopher Horner said of the information gleaned from the FOIA requests.
Previous FOIA requests filed by the organization revealed similar collaboration between the EPA and powerful environmental groups in furtive efforts to kill the American coal industry.
Via a FOX News report on the emails:
In one email, John Coequyt, head of Sierra’s “beyond coal” campaign, wrote to Goo and another EPA staffer in an apparent attempt to pressure EPA into adopting regulations so strict that coal plants that already received construction permits could not be built.
“Attached is a list of plants that the companies shelved because of uncertainty around GHG regulations. If a standard is set that these plants could meet, there is a not small chance that they (sic) company could decide to revive the proposal,” Coequyt wrote.
In another email to Goo and Alex Barron of EPA’s climate office, Coequyt responded comically to an August 2012 article that quoted now-EPA administrator Gina McCarthy as saying the new regulations would not kill coal.
“Pants on fire,” wrote Coequyt.
In another shocking revelation about the EPA, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released this week a transcript of Congressional testimony from disgraced former senior agency official John Beale. Beale was recently unseated by the Committee in connection with a fraud conviction stemming from his impersonation of a CIA agent in an effort to defraud the Federal government out of almost $1 million.
While the disgraced former official’s credibility is questionable, his assertion to lawmakers that the true mission of the EPA goes far beyond protecting the environment could serve to explain how the agency’s power grab under the current President fits into the Administration’s overall agenda.
The EPA’s endgame, Beale told lawmakers, is to “modify the DNA” of capitalism.
From page 21 of Beale’s deposition:
There were several phases of this project as we had outlined it. There’s an enormous body of literature on the subject. Sometimes it’s referred to sustainability literature, sometimes it’s referred to green economics. And so phase 1 of the project was for me to become very familiar and transversant with that literature. Phase 2 would have been out and interviewing academic experts, business experts, people in other countries that are doing things.
And then phase 3 would have been coming up with specific proposals that could be – could have been proposed either legislatively or things which could have been done administratively to kind of modify the DNA of the capitalist system…
In response to public release of Beale’s testimony, Dan Kish, the Institute for Energy Research’s senior vice president, responded: “This is the smoking gun. For years, we have been saying the real agenda behind this administration’s energy and environmental policies is just what President Obama has said it is: to fundamentally transform America.
“In his testimony under oath, Beale, perhaps unwittingly, has laid bare the administration’s end goal. The President’s policies are not about carbon, they are not about coal, they are not even about energy and the environment. They are about fundamentally altering the DNA of the capitalist system. These policies are not about energy, but power.”