by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Officials at the Environmental Protection Agency have given outside pressure groups unprecedented access and improper influence over environmental policy, says Christopher Horner. Horner and his colleagues at the Energy and Environment Legal Institute reviewed hundreds of pages of agency emails obtained—with considerable resistance from the EPA—via Freedom of Information requests. Here is a snippet from a summary of the report by Anthony Watts:
The relationship between Michael Goo, recently head of the EPA Office of Policy and a former Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) lobbyist, and John Coequyt, a top Sierra Club lobbyist, is particularly close, to the point that Coequyt worked to ensure Goo participation in meetings important to Sierra, while Goo ensured his colleagues paid particular attention to Sierra’s concerns and materials.
The emails discussed in the report demonstrate how Coequyt supplied research and advocacy materials directly to individual activists within EPA, even helping EPA keep a score for “internal use” of coal plants to shut down. He advised EPA officials to ensure “zombie” coal plants, i.e. plants that had been planned and may one day be built, remain shelved avoided creating complete logs of their interactions through various means, including, e.g., meeting with Goo at the nearby Marriott Hotel near the EPA headquarters (circumventing detailing their discussions in EPA’s visitor logs, where people most logically would look), and when he was otherwise in the building including for numerous meetings with senior officials Goo facilitated had such a direct pipeline into the Agency that when he was on vacation his Sierra Club team would plead with EPA friends for updates.