(NaturalNews) The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was set up relatively recently - in 1970 - under President Nixon, ostensibly to protect the environment and human health. Instead, the nation's foremost regulatory agency has become one of the most abusive, out of control and unaccountable in all of government.
A case in point to this problematic trend was seen in the last few weeks when Alaska's Environmental Crimes Taskforce - on orders from the EPA - raided the tiny and remote gold mining town of Chicken, Alaska, at gun point in SWAT formation with full body armor, supposedly to test for water quality violations. Initial inquiries into the unit's bizarre behavior have been met with incredulous claims that "rampant drug and human trafficking" was going on in a town with only 17 permanent residents and a few dozen temporary mine workers.
Now, a fresh report from the Republican members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has raised serious issues concerning the need for greater transparency and control over an agency that has assumed massive powers, including unilaterally declaring CO2 to be a "dangerous pollutant," conducting illegal and potentially deadly experiments with PM2.5 diesel exhaust fumes on human test subjects and attempting to levy the first ever carbon emissions limits on existing power plants under authority extended by President Obama's executive order.
Issued Sept. 9 and titled "EPA's FOIA and Federal Records Failures Uncovered," the Senate Report investigated the shocking revelations that former EPA chief Lisa Jackson, appointed by President Obama, had been using the alias "Richard Winsor" to conduct official business via e-mail with no oversight or comprehensive records of her activity.
"The agency established an alias identity to hide the actions of the former administrator; has purposefully been unresponsive to FOIA requests, oftentimes redacting information the public has a right to know; and mismanaged its electronic records system such that federal records have been jeopardized. Moreover, EPA's leadership abandoned the historic model of a specialized public servant who seeks to fairly administer the law and has instead embraced a number of controversial tactics to advance a secretive agenda. These tactics include circumventing transparency obligations to avoid public scrutiny and manipulation of the FOIA process to benefit their allies."
These findings show not only that repeated requests for information filed under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) relevant to public policy were ignored or improperly fulfilled, but that deliberate steps were taken to hide documents, delay response times and obfuscate inquiries. Such abuses reportedly traced back to the Clinton Administration when Carol Browner headed the EPA.
Moreover, it was revealed that Jackson - who rose through the ranks as New Jersey's EPA commissioner and, subsequently, Chief of Staff to the then-Governor and now disgraced Jon Corzine of MF Global fame - was not the only official using an alias. "In addition, our investigation has revealed that multiple high ranking officials have used non-EPA email accounts to conduct official agency business," the Republican-issued Senate report found.
Incredibly, it was discovered that either Jackson or her assistant was personally fulfilling records requests - leaving the integrity and thoroughness of such documentation unknown and unchecked. "Further frustrating the integrity of the system is the fact the agency cannot indicate definitively if these accounts were reviewed in records requests," the report added.
Yet the same agency demands that polluters, businesses, land owners, communities and other stewards of the environment (well meaning or not) cross every "t" and dot every "i" to meet their stringent requirements and codes or be shut down.
Lisa Jackson - who was replaced by Gina McCarthy in July - has reportedly "lawyered up" in preparations for her testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, though she has denied any wrongdoing and agreed to full cooperation.
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