U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), Chairman of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee, today sent a follow-up letter to Gina McCarthy, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), regarding possible violations by the Agency while promoting the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. Vitter’s letter follows up on his initial questions regarding EPA’s failure to properly consult with small businesses, while at the same time used taxpayer dollars to coordinate with far-left environmental organizations to build public support for the now-final WOTUS rule.
“EPA has made it quite clear that the opinions of their far-left environmental allies are more important than the real world concerns of America’s small businesses and job creators when crafting expensive, authority-expanding rules,” said Vitter. “EPA’s conduct during the WOTUS rulemaking process could be a major violation of federal law, and even now when the rule is finalized, the question remains: Why is EPA still failing to be forthright?”
Vitter sent a letter to McCarthy in May 2015 regarding recent reports that the Agency inappropriately coordinated with outside organizations during the WOTUS rulemaking process, yet had at the same time not listened to feedback from the small business community. EPA responded with a form letter that was also sent to Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) who had raised separate issues related to EPA’s conduct during the WOTUS rulemaking process. Click here to read more.
For decades, the Department of Justice has recommended that federal agencies do not lobby the general public to build political support for policies promoted by the Executive Branch. In 2014, the EPA embarked on an unprecedented public relations campaign, which may have violated anti-lobbying laws, to promote the WOTUS rule by working closely with outside organizations including the Sierra Club and Organizing for Action, which is closely affiliated with President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign. Vitter’s letter today demands specific answers as to who EPA coordinated with to promote the rule.