The EPA’s Secret Staff 

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Emails show the agency took dictation from green lobbies in possible violation of the law.

States and businesses are suing to stop the Obama Administration’s anticarbon Clean Power Plan, and now they have new evidence to seek a preliminary injunction.

“The emails, obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests, show that this trio and other environmentalists essentially wrote the rule. Their inside man was Michael Goo, who worked at the NRDC before becoming the EPA’s Associate Administrator for the Office of Policy.”

The Energy & Environment Legal Institute has obtained government emails that show the EPA secretly worked with environmental lobbyists to craft its Clean Power Plan regulating greenhouse gases. The emails show this secret alliance designed a standard that would be impossible or economically ruinous for existing coal plants to meet—in order to force their closure.

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” The emails show intense 2011 communications between Mr. Goo and high-level officials at the NRDC, the Sierra Club and the Clean Air Task Force. Mr. Goo used a private Yahoo email account to send multiple drafts of his options memo to these outside groups, which returned them with draft instructions.”

The New York Times first reported that in 2014 environmentalists Dan Lashof,David Doniger and David Hawkins—all with roots at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)—drafted a “blueprint” that “influenced” the greenhouse gas rules. That wasn’t the half of it.

The Environmental Protection Agency in Washington D.C. PHOTO: UIG VIA GETTY IMAGES

The emails, obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests, show that this trio and other environmentalists essentially wrote the rule. Their inside man was Michael Goo, who worked at the NRDC before becoming the EPA’s Associate Administrator for the Office of Policy. The emails show intense 2011 communications between Mr. Goo and high-level officials at the NRDC, the Sierra Club and the Clean Air Task Force. Mr. Goo used a private Yahoo email account to send multiple drafts of his options memo to these outside groups, which returned them with draft instructions.

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“I’ve been involved with EPA regulations for more than 25 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this before. It is remarkable that a senior official would use a private email account to evade federal law and secretly give an outside group a seat at the table when regulations are being developed.”

— Jeff Holmstead, a former EPA assistant administrator in the Bush Administration

The communications show that Mr. Goo kept these outsiders apprised of internal EPA deliberations. For instance, Conrad Schneider, an official at the Clean Air Task Force, on May 11, 2011 asks Mr. Goo to send him the “latest unit efficiency concept” the agency is debating.

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

Mr. Schneider also provides Mr. Goo with his staff’s “reactions” to Mr. Goo’s “read out from the meeting from the Administrator”—meaning Mr. Goo was briefing outside groups on his discussions with then-EPA chief Lisa Jackson. The collaboration on standards and algorithms is so detailed that at one point Mr. Schneider chides Mr. Goo that he needs to keep his “units straight” since he is confusing concepts. Read the rest of this entry »