Last week, I attended the news conference in DC at which Senator David Vitter (R-LA) released a minority staff report from the U.S. Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPWC) titled “The Chain of Environmental Command: How a Club of Billionaires and Their Foundations Control the Environmental Movement and Obama’s EPA.” The report is an interesting read and shines some light on phony, supposedly “local,” grassroots campaigns that are directed by many of the same national entities and interests.
The section that most intrigued me covers the revolving door between individuals who work for environmental activist groups that seek greater government regulation and the federal agencies that produce such regulations. See pp. 23-32. It lists a number of individuals who recently obtained or held influential positions with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and were previously employed by the National Resource Defense Council, Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund, Public Interest Research Groups, Union of Concerned Scientists, and elsewhere. These organizations regularly lobby and sue federal agencies seeking ever-increasing government regulation of economic and social activity.
That in itself isn’t all that new, but it bears attention for two additional reasons:
Readers also may be interested in the “Case Studies of Services Rendered” section, which describes extensive propaganda efforts in opposition to hydraulic fracking and the Keystone XL Pipeline. The activists seem to have been more successful so far in killing jobs and economic activity related to the XL Pipeline, but perhaps that is because the federal government holds an absolute trump card on that project.
Others may find the legal questions about the foreign funds flow to non-profits engaged in political advocacy and the seeming lax financial and lobbying practices of IRC § 501(c)(4) organizations of interest. Whether major donors to some of the environmental funding organizations have something to gain from regulations that require “renewable energy” technologies doesn’t prove they aren’t pure of heart, but it’s worth knowing those connections.
As to whether this is a worthy beach read or not, you’ll have to judge for yourself. But the operation of our government is often more interesting than fiction.You can send your own reaction to the report to me through Twitter @ToddGaziano.