EPA Grows Astroturf to Support Pre-Ordained Agenda

The Environmental Protection Agency is supposed to scientifically evaluate data and come to conclusions on the basis of that data. Instead, they have delayed investigations in order to arrange for coached activists to force decisions that the EPA has already endorsed for political or ideological reasons.

The Washington Times reports,

Charged with being neutral arbiters, EPA officials instead began advocating for a preemptive veto of the Pebble Mine project in western Alaska as early as 2008, long before any scientific studies were conducted or the permit applications for the project were even filed, the emails obtained by The Washington Times show.

“As you know I feel that both of these projects (Chuitna and Pebble) merit consideration of a 404C veto,” EPA official Phillip North wrote in an email suggesting that the mining project’s rejection be added to the agenda of an agency retreat in summer 2009.

EPA wouldn’t even announce the beginning of a scientific review of Pebble Mine until 2011, two years after Mr. North’s email, but discussion of a pre-emptive veto dominated internal discussions inside the agency for much of the three years beforehand.

But the EPA did not restrict itself to secret internal deliberations and strategizing. The agency also coordinated with activists and Indian tribes on how best to get the plan for the mine scuttled. When it announced in 2011 that it was going to investigate the environmental impact the mine would have, the EPA claimed that the local Indian tribes had requested that they investigate. But it had already been in contact with them, “tipping them off that the EPA was considering a preemptive veto.”

One of the clearest signs that EPA had predetermined it would kill the project came in the form of a 2011 budget request that sought money to pursue the 404(c) veto.

Officials at other federal agencies with roles in the mining review process were talking as early as 2010 that an EPA veto was a fait accompli.

Mr. North has briefed top EPA officials in Washington and “believes EPA leaders have decided to proceed and they are just deciding when,” Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Phil Brna wrote in an email in September 2010.

An investigation of the timeline could set the stage for legal action by the mine proponents, who argue that the EPA had no reason to pre-empt the normal process and prevent a full scientific review.

Of course, if the owners of the mine have to take legal action, they will have to pay good money to do so, while the EPA will have their defense paid by the U.S. taxpayers, including the owners of the mine!