Advocacy groups to US Congress: back off

Senator David Vitter and Representative Darrell Issa are leading an investigation to National Resource Defense Council lobbyists have too much influence over EPA policies. In September, the two lawmakers including four other Congressional Republicans fired off a letter to the NRDC demanding the group’s president turn over communication records since 2009 citing two issues the NRDC is involved in. The GOP members of Congress involved in the investigation received emails from the NRDC and EPA but this activity also drew the attention of the heads of the American Civil Liberties Union, Alliance for Justice and the Center for Competitive Politics. All three groups raised objections to the investigation stating that it seemed like a means to intimidate the NRDC. In short, all three groups issued Vitter, Issa, et all a collective: back off.

The Congressional probe is to determine if the NRDC exerted enough influence on EPA policy to the point where the environmentalist group and the agency colluded on matters of interest. The concerns expressed Senator Vitter and Rep. Issa are real. The New York Times reported in July of 2011 that a Republican US Representative uncovered emails showing the EPA encouraging environmentalist groups to sue the agency as a means to do end runs around the Executive Branch and Congress in order to get environmental rules implemented by court declaration.

What the communications between environmentalist groups and the EPA reveal about this scandal give new meaning to the term where there’s a will there is a way. The NRDC is clearly involved in activities geared toward enacting policies they deem to be appropriate by any means necessary. The EPA gives a grant to an green group that is used in a lawsuit, does not defend itself when sued and then implements environmental rules via court decree. This maybe old news but is, in reality, a form of fraud which is not protected by the US Constitution. The NRDC or other environmentalist groups do not have the country’s best interest at heart and neither do the EPA bureaucrats that encourage them. The worst part about it. are the three interest groups (two liberal, one conservative) who have jumped to the NRDC’s defense.