Tag Archives: EPA

Trump names climate skeptic to transition team

Trump today named a climate skeptic from the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute to lead his EPA transition team .

Myron Ebell, director of energy and environment policy at the conservative think tank Competitive Enterprise Institute, is heading Trump’s EPA transition preparation, E&E Daily reported Monday. Ebell is an outspoken, longtime skeptic of the scientific consensus that human activity is dramatically changing the climate. He often refers to warnings about global warming as climate “alarmism” and is a vocal critic of President Obama’s climate change regulations. Ebell has argued that the Clean Power Plan is illegal and that the Paris climate change agreement is unconstitutional.

As those who have been reading Behind the Black know, I have been looking closely at the people Trump is looking at to be part of his administration, should he win the election. His choices will tell us two things: One, the political positions of his appointees will provide an indication of Trump’s own political preferences at this time. Two, his choices will tell us the nature of people that will be advising Trump in the future.

So far, his choices have leaned right, with a few exceptions. This choice for leading the transition at EPA is significantly to the right, and indicates that a Trump administration would work aggressively to dismantle the global warming cartel that presently runs things in the climate field, using government money as their hammer.

Most of you and the media will be glued to your televisions tonight, watching the silly debate show. I am more interested in what Trump might actually do. For example, I was somewhat impressed by the immigration speech Trump gave August 31. Unlike most political speeches by him and every other modern politician, it was not a litany of emotional attack soundbites and cute jokes. Trump outlined in great detail the overall policy plans to deal with the federal government total failure to do its job controlling the border. I did not agree with all of his proposals, but I found the overall thoughtfulness of the speech encouraging.

Court rules EPA violated privacy of farmers and ranchers

The law is such an inconvenient thing: A federal appeals court has ruled that the EPA violated the privacy rights of farmers and ranchers when it provided environmental groups their personal information.

I find it interesting that the federal bureaucracy is often very quick to redact vast amounts of information demanded of them due to investigations of their corruption and abuse of power, but here they hand over the private confidential information of farmer and ranchers to their political enemies, without a second thought. You’d almost think they were working in league with these environmental groups.

New EPA toxic spill in Colorado

Government in action: The EPA has once again accidently released toxic waste into the same Colorado river it mistakenly dumped 3 million gallons of toxic waste from an abandoned mine last year.

Local officials said this week’s release was not large enough to warrant a public advisory. Last year’s spill sent nearly 1 million pounds of metals into the waterways of the Animas and San Juan rivers, which traverse three states. The metals include arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel and zinc.

This week’s spill came from the treatment plant that the EPA set up near the mine to filter water coming from the mine before releasing it into the creek and river systems. A large amount of rain in Colorado caused the treatment facility to overflow and some of the untreated water to spill into the waterways. EPA said the water that spilled from he plant was partially treated, and the metals present in it should quickly settle to the bottom of waterways where they are less harmful.

How many of you out there trust the EPA in this? Considering the stonewalling and lying the agency practiced when the original spill occurred, I see no reason to believe anything they say now.

EPA never did ethanol studies required by law

The law is such an inconvenient thing: Despite a legal mandate from Congress to conduct studies on the use of ethanol in vehicles the EPA has admitted that it simply ignored the law and never did any.

The Obama administration has failed to study as legally required the impact of requiring ethanol in gasoline and ensuring that new regulations intended to address one problem do not actually make other problems worse, the Environmental Protection Agency inspector general said Thursday. The conclusion in the new audit confirmed findings of an Associated Press investigation in November 2013. The AP said the administration never conducted studies to determine whether air and water quality benefits from adding corn-based ethanol to gasoline. Such reports to Congress were required every three years under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

Instead, they have been pushing to increase the amount of ethanol used in gasoline, even though they have no idea whether this helps or hurts the environment, and have been told by practically every automotive industry expert that increased ethanol will damage car engines.

But then, who cares what the law says? Who cares what other experts say? The EPA is made up of righteous perfect liberal individuals who simply know better. How dare Congress, or anyone for that matter, tell them what to do!

EPA’s gasoline efficiency tests are garbage

Our government in action: The tests the EPA uses to establish the fuel efficiency of cars are unreliable, and likely provide no valid information at all about the fuel efficiency of the cars tested.

The law requiring cars to meet these fuel efficiency tests was written in the 1970s, and specifically sets standards based on the technology then. Worse,

[T]he EPA doesn’t know exactly how its CAFE testing correlates with actual results, because it has never done a comprehensive study of real-world fuel economy. Nor does anyone else. The best available data comes from consumers who report it to the DOT—hardly a scientific sampling.

Other than that, everything is fine. Companies are forced to spend billions on this regulation, the costs of which they immediately pass on to consumers, all based on fantasy and a badly-written law. Gee, I’m sure glad we never tried this with healthcare!

Federal court rules a farmer plowing his land violates Clean Water Act

Fascists: A federal court has ruled that a farmer in California is violating the Clean Water Act by plowing his own property.

The court ruled that the company violated the Clean Water Act by plowing its property, even though the Act exempts normal farming practices. And, the implementing regulations state that plowing is never even subject to the Act, so long as it does not convert wetlands to dry land. Since no wetlands were lost or reduced in acreage by the plowing in this case, the court’s decision amounts to a rule that you may not plow in federally regulated wetlands without an Army Corps permit, the clear exemptions to the contrary notwithstanding.

The court also reversed an earlier ruling in the case and held that although the Corps ordered Duarte Nursery to halt all activity in any area of its property that could be considered waters of the U.S. on its property, the company did not suffer any deprivation of its property. On this basis, the court then ruled that Duarte Nursery’s due process rights have not been violated by being ordered not to farm its property for the last three years.

More here. Even though the Supreme Court has twice told the EPA and the Army Corp of Engineers that their interpretation of the Clean Water Act is wrong and overreaching, the agencies continue to use their interpretation to fine and restrict the actions of farmers and private property owners. In this case, they are forbidding a farming company from farming their property under Clean Water Act regulations, even though the law specifically exempts farming from Clean Water Act regulations and the Supreme Court has also ruled that interpretation of the law by these agencies is wrong.

What makes this worse is that a California federal court has agreed with the agencies, even though the Supreme Court has previously ruled otherwise. It is as if the lower federal court in California have decided they don’t need to follow the rulings of the higher court.

Wyoming rancher beats EPA over stock pond

Good news: A Wyoming rancher who built a stock pond on his property, after obtaining all local permits, and was then hit by the EPA with gigantic fines totaling more than $16 million if he didn’t remove it, has won his case in court.

Under the settlement, Johnson’s pond will remain and he won’t pay any fines or concede any federal jurisdiction to regulate the pond. And the government won’t pursue any further enforcement actions based on the pond’s construction. The only conditions, according to Johnson’s lawyers, are that willow trees be planted around the pond and a partial fence installed to “control livestock.” “This is a victory for common sense and the environment, and it brings an end to all the uncertainty and fear that the Johnson family faced,” said Jonathan Wood, a staff attorney with Pacific Legal Foundation who represented Andy Johnson in his court challenge to the EPA, and in negotiating the settlement.

“The EPA never identified any environmental problems with the pond,” Wood told FoxNews.com. “In fact, it’s been a boom for the environment.”

Though he won his case, because there apparently was no cost to the EPA for attacking him it is really the EPA that has won. In the future I expect them to use their ability to impose fines more widely in even more egregious situations, knowing it will cost the agency nothing and might gain them more power. It will worth it, since the only way to stop them would be to hire lawyers and spend a lot of money in court.

Government audit finds EPA broke the law!

A new government audit has found that the EPA broke the law with its aggressive social media campaign lobbying in support of the Obama administration’s proposed clean water regulations.

The Environmental Protection Agency engaged in “covert propaganda” and violated federal law when it blitzed social media to urge the public to back an Obama administration rule intended to better protect the nation’s streams and surface waters, congressional auditors have concluded.

The ruling by the Government Accountability Office, which opened its investigation after a report on the agency’s practices in The New York Times, drew a bright line for federal agencies experimenting with social media about the perils of going too far to push a cause. Federal laws prohibit agencies from engaging in lobbying and propaganda. “I can guarantee you that general counsels across the federal government are reading this report,” said Michael Eric Hertz, a professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York who has written on social media and the government.

I am sure this news comes as a complete surprise to everyone. Who ever heard of a modern government agency ignoring the law for its own benefit? The concept boggles the mind!

EPA rewards Gold King contractor with more contracts

Shut them down! The EPA has given an additional $2.7 million to the contractor who caused the Gold King Mine spill in Colorado.

That’s in addition to a $1 million bonus awarded the day before the spill itself.

The level of corruption here is astounding. Read the whole article at the link, as it outlines a number of other examples of corrupt actions by the EPA, both in wasting taxpayer dollars for their own personal benefit as well as routinely working with environmentalists to shut down businesses, without any objective review.

Another EPA wastewater spill in Colorado

We’re here to help you! EPA workers have caused another wastewater spill in Colorado.

According to the Denver Post, an EPA mine crew working Thursday at the Standard Mine in the mountains near Crested Butte, triggered another spill of some 2,000 gallons of wastewater into a nearby mountain creek. Supporting Tipton’s remarks to Watchdog Arena, the Denver Post report states that the EPA had failed to release a report about the incident at the time of its writing.

Unlike the Gold King Mine, where on Aug. 5, an EPA mine crew exploring possible clean-up options, blew out a structural plug in the mine releasing over 3 million gallons of toxic waste into the Animas River, the Standard Mine is an EPA-designated superfund site, where the federal agency has been directing ongoing clean-up efforts.

According to a the Washington Times regarding this latest spill, Tipton’s spokesman, Josh Green, said that locals in the Crested Butte area confirmed the spill. Watchdog Arena spoke directly with Tipton Thursday afternoon who claimed, “They are reporting that the spill consisted of “gray water,” and was not toxic. But the definition of gray water does not preclude the presence of possible toxic substances.”

It doesn’t matter that this spill is smaller and at a superfund site. If a private landowner screwed up like this, and didn’t report it, as required by the EPA, the EPA would move in faster than the speed of light to take everything they owned and to put them in prison.

New EPA ozone regulations based on fantasy

We’re here to help you: New proposed EPA regulations for reducing ozone are expected to cost trillions to enforce, even though there is no evidence that the regulations will do anything to improve health.

In the name of fighting asthma, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requested permission to decrease the ozone standard  — the amount of ozone allowed in the atmosphere — to a level some scientists say is physically impossible to achieve. One organization estimates the cost to implement these new rules will be $1.1 trillion. Even worse, data shows that as ozone levels in the U.S. have decreased, asthma cases have increased.

This regulation may be the most expensive in history, and bring absolutely no health benefits.

Worse, there is absolutely no scientific basis for these ozone regulations.

While average levels of ozone have decreased 33 percent since 1980, the number of asthma patients has increased over that time. The Global Asthma Report for 2014 lists environmental factors which lead to asthma, but never mentions smog or ozone. The National Institutes of Health does not list climate change or ozone as a cause of asthma mainly because the exact causes are unknown. Excessive hygiene once was considered the primary cause, but this view has been mostly refuted. “The World Health Organization report “Ambient (Outdoor) Air Quality and Health” does make the argument that ozone may trigger asthma, but it does not refute the negative correlation between improving air quality and the worsening Asthma epidemic in the US.”

While proposing the new standard, the EPA cited a study of which the agency itself had previously said “it is convenient for fitting the model, but it is not accurate.” As Tony Cox pointed out, “there is abundant historical data on ozone levels and asthma levels in U.S. cities and counties over the past 20 years,” so it is relatively easy to see if decreasing ozone has positive effects on respiratory health. It does not.

Read the whole thing. The only reason the EPA is going to try to impose this regulation, which by the way is so stringent that it will likely be impossible for anyone to meet it, is because they can. It is a power play, pure and simple, imposed by appointed fascist bureaucrats who have an ideology that they intend to force on everyone else, regardless of the harm it does.

EPA violated Endangered Species Act in Colorado

The law is for the little people: The EPA violated the Endangered Species Act when it began work on the Animas River spill without first consulting with the Fish and Wildlife Service.

Turns out that it is very illegal, as in, criminal and civil charges illegal, when someone does not consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service prior to undertaking a project that poses a threat to endangered critters. In this case, downstream fish.

But, but, but, we didn’t mean to spill all of that acid and lead and whatnot into the river, stammered EPA Chief Gina McCarthy.

That didn’t satisfy GOP Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah who chairs the House Natural Resources Committee, and reminded her repeatedly that the EPA had been warned for more than a year that a blowout was imminent, and therefore consultation on endangered species was required by law before work began at the mine. [emphasis in original]

It turns out that the EPA did not begin the process, required by law, until last night, more than a month after the spill and well after their work began. I wonder how they would treat a private landowner or business who so cavalierly ignored the law.

Also, the head of the Interior Department, Sally Jewell, refused to appear for Congressional hearings, while the EPA head, Gina McCarthy, demanded that she not have to sit next to other witnesses, all of whom were there to describe the disaster her agency has brought down upon them. Moreover, during McCarthy’s testimony she said that no one at the EPA would be held criminally responsible for the spill.

But hey, isn’t the government’s the best way to do things? That’s what Democrats keep telling us. And we believe them, of course, blindly, without question.

Wyoming farmer defies the EPA

Defiant! A Wyoming farmer has filed suit against the EPA for demanding he disassemble a small stock pond he built on his own property, after following all the state’s rules and getting all the proper permits.

The EPA’s fines, $75K per day, have now accumulated to over $16 million. He is challenging the agency, saying that he followed all the rules, that the pond is on his own property, and that the EPA does not have jurisdiction.

EPA withholds Colorado disaster documents demanded by Congress

Surprise! The EPA, when ordered by Congress to release documents describing that agency’s planning prior to the toxic waste disaster it caused in Colorado, has failed to meet the deadline set by Congress for turning over those documents.

“It is disappointing, but not surprising, that the EPA failed to meet the House Science Committee’s reasonable deadline in turning over documents pertaining to the Gold King Mine spill,” said Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX). “These documents are essential to the Committee’s ongoing investigation and our upcoming hearing on Sept. 9. But more importantly, this information matters to the many Americans directly affected in western states, who are still waiting for answers from the EPA.”

Smith – who frequently spars with the EPA – is chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee. EPA director Gina McCarthy has been asked to appear and answer questions about the agency’s role in creating a 3-million-gallon toxic spill into Colorado’s Animas River on Aug. 5. Critics say McCarthy and the EPA have been unresponsive, secretive and unsympathetic toward millions of people who live in three states bordering the river.

The word “coverup” comes to mind, though how could anyone believe that the Obama administration (the most transparent in history!) would do such a thing baffles the mind.

“When EPA is not ignoring Supreme Court limitations on it, it is blithely disregarding rule-making laws required of it.”

The story that has the quote above outlines the EPA’s recent and past history of ignoring the law and court rulings to write and impose its regulations. It also details the many times the environmental agency has used its ability to impose fines to extort concessions from private landowners, including the recent Colorado mine disaster.

Like the IRS, the EPA has become an out-of-control agency, a haven for fascists eager to use their power to squelch anyone that opposes them. With the former, this power is used by partisan Democrats to help the Democratic Party and hurt its opponents. With the latter, this power is used to destroy private property rights in the name of leftwing environmental fantasies, even if that use of power ends up doing terrible damage to the environment.

“They just didn’t think.”

Guess who didn’t think and in what context!

I will give you one clue: None of this surprised me. I have seen this happen repeatedly for the past five decades, again and again and again and again. Stupidity, and then a refusal to take responsibility, even as Americans look the other way.

Obama threatens veto of House bill to limit EPA use of unpublished data

Here we go again: The House is about to vote on a Republican bill to require EPA to use only publicly available data.

The bills, introduced by a mostly Republican cast of sponsors in both the House and the Senate, would require that EPA use only publicly available, reproducible data in writing regulations and seek to remake the membership and procedures of the agency’s science advisory panels. Supporters, including industry groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, argue that the legislation would improve the transparency and soundness of how EPA uses science, making regulations less costly and more effective.

Opponents, however, are calling the bills wolves in sheep’s clothing. “I cannot support legislation that makes it easier for industry to implement their destructive playbook, because risking the health of the American people is not a game that I’m willing to play,” said Representative Paul Tonko (D–NY) at a 25 February committee meeting on the bills.

The White House has issued statements saying Obama will veto the bill. How hard to do you think John Boehner and Mitch McConnell will fight for this legislation?

More crushing Obama regulation to come

Despite the just completed elections, where the voters clearly indicated their disinterest in the additional environmental rules supported by Democrats, Obama is gearing up for an “onslaught” of new regulations.

The Obama administration is set to roll out a series of climate and pollution measures that rivals any president’s environmental actions of the past quarter-century — a reality check for Republicans who think last week’s election gave them a mandate to end what they call the White House’s “War on Coal.”

Tied to court-ordered deadlines, legal mandates and international climate talks, the efforts scheduled for the next two months show that President Barack Obama is prepared to spend the remainder of his term unleashing sweeping executive actions to combat global warming. And incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will have few options for stopping the onslaught, though Republicans may be able to slow pieces of it.

If anyone has any doubt left that this president, and the left, doesn’t care what the American public wants, this story lays that doubt to rest forever. Barack Obama dislikes the idea of democracy, of following the will of the people. Instead, he wants to rule as a dictator, dictating the rules that he thinks are right. And the left that supports him supports this tyrannical approach.

EPA threatens $75K per day fines to man who built pond on his own property.

We’re here to help you: The EPA is threatening a man with $75K per day fines unless he tears down a homemade pond he built on his private property, using water from a 2-foot wide, 6-inch stream.

Johnson’s pond was created with a dam on a nearby creek in Fort Bridger, which he built about five years ago. He got the right permits from Wyoming state agencies. “I acquired a stock pond reservoir permit,” he said. “They said go ahead and build it. When I was done with the project, I got a hold of them again and did a final on it, and they sent me a paper back saying I’m in good standing, that my pond was exactly exercised as permitted.”

The EPA maintains Johnson broke a law by failing to obtain a federal permit before constructing the pond.

As Johnson himself notes, this is really a power grab by the EPA. The agency has wanted control over every piece of U.S. water for decades — no matter how small or temporary. In the late 80s they tried to claim that any temporary wet spot was a wetlands that they had jurisdiction over. Now, it is every minor creek. In both cases, the EPA never made any effort to document if any environmental harm was being done, only that they should have complete control over everything.

EPA tells court it has lost text messages

The most transparent administration ever: The EPA has admitted that text messages demanded in a lawsuit, which the agency is required by law to retain, have been lost.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) told a federal court that it may have lost the text messages at the center of a lawsuit by a libertarian think tank.The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) sued the EPA last year in federal court to compel the release of text messages to and from Administrator Gina McCarthy and her predecessor under the Freedom of Information Act. In the Tuesday filing to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Justice Department lawyers representing the EPA said the agency will soon file a notice that it may have misplaced records that it was legally required to retain.

It seems pretty clear that the Obama administration has decided to follow the same playbook with all its many scandals: stonewall and coverup, legally or illegally.

The Feds steal cars

Theft by government: Homeland Security agents confiscate forty vehicles because they think they violate the Clean Air Act.

The story has this very interesting tidbit: According to the owner of one vehicle “had spent considerable money ensuring her vehicle would pass inspection laws and that it was in compliance with emission rules.” Nonetheless, the feds showed up at her door and took the vehicle.

EPA “loses” emails like the IRS.

Transparency! Subpoenaed emails at the EPA have been lost because of a hard drive crash.

The hearing also included a bit of deja vu for the committee when members grilled [EPA Administrator Gina] McCarthy on lost emails from a hard-drive crash (the same issue that wiped out emails from IRS employee Lois Lerner). In this case, the emails in question were from retired EPA employee Philip North, who was involved in the agency’s decision to begin the process of preemptively vetoing the Pebble Mine project in Alaska.

North, who declined an interview request by the committee, is retired, and committee staff say they have been unable to track him down. According to a committee aide, North’s hard drive crashed in 2010—which was around the same time that the committee is investigating the agency’s discussions of a potential veto—and the emails were not backed up.

This is all crap. The only way these emails get lost is if the people involved intentionally “lost” them.

“If the government says you can’t use your property for anything, they’ve essentially taken your property from you.”

“If the government says you can’t use your property for anything, they’ve essentially taken your property from you.”

It’s just another government land grab, but this time in California, not Nevada.

The EPA admits that it does not have the data to justify its environmental regulations.

The EPA admits that it does not have the data to justify its environmental regulations.

The EPA was subpoenaed by Congress for the data it uses, and they responded to say that what they have doesn’t really provide any proof that their regulations are necessary. But they then add that they are going to continue imposing their regulations anyway.

A science poster released at an American Geophysical Union conference this week finds again that the global warming climate models used by policy makers have all failed to predict what has actually happened.

The uncertainty of science: A science poster released at an American Geophysical Union conference this week finds again that the global warming climate models used by policy makers have all failed to predict what has actually happened.

Some devastating quotes from the poster:
» Read more

A researcher of fuel cells, manhandled and arrested because he used the wrong mailing labels in selling and shipping sodium to fund his research, was then targeted by the EPA because he wasn’t home to maintain his sodium supplies.

We’re here to help you: A researcher of fuel cells, manhandled and arrested because he used the wrong mailing labels in selling and shipping sodium to fund his research, was then prosecuted by the EPA because he wasn’t home to maintain his sodium supplies.

On May 27, 2004, federal agents in two black SUVs, waving assault rifles, forced Krister’s car off the road. Manhandling him as if he were a terrorist, they arrested, interrogated, and jailed him. For what? Putting the wrong shipping label—with the correct instructions, mind you—on a box of raw sodium that he sold on eBay.

A jury saw that it was an honest mistake and found Krister “not guilty.” But while Krister was on trial, sodium from his experiments sat in steel drums at an industrial warehouse. The Environmental Protection Agency learned of the additional sodium, determined that Krister had “abandoned” it, and charged him with a federal crime.

Although Krister’s expert witness testified that the sodium was stored properly, a jury found Krister guilty. He served 13 months in federal prison and eight more in a halfway house.

So, what did he do that was morally wrong? Nothing. Not that this matters to our lovely federal government. He did not obey their rules to the letter, even when they themselves made it impossible for him to do so. Thus, he must be destroyed.

Despite the failure of any climate model to predict the climate, the Obama administration is increasing the cost and strictness of regulation because of what it sees as the “social cost of carbon dioxide.”

Despite the failure of any climate model to predict the climate, the Obama administration is increasing the cost and strictness of regulation because of what it sees as the “social cost of carbon dioxide.”

[E]ssentially, the government is now incorporating newer climate models that capture the future damage from sea-level rise more explicitly. Those models also project that agriculture will suffer more heavily in a hotter world. So, in its central estimate, the federal government now assumes a ton of carbon-dioxide emitted in 2013 does roughly $36 in damage, rather than its previous estimate of $22, with the value rising each year.

Meanwhile, new data also suggests increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere might actually be beneficial, not damaging.

Shouldn’t the EPA and the Obama administration get their heads out of the sand?

The EPA has acknowledged that it illegally released personal information of farmers to several leftwing environmental organizations.

The EPA has acknowledged that it illegally released personal information of farmers to several leftwing environmental organizations.

Mistakes do happen, but like the IRS scandal, this mistake was all one way, helpful to the left and harmful to their opponents. And like the IRS scandal, this one way harm suggests this was not a mistake, but quite intentional.

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