The Obama Administration has attempted to downplay the recent resignation of EPA Region 6 Administrator Al Armendariz after videos surfaced of the administrator describing his enforcement of EPA regulations as “crucifying” oil companies. Shortly thereafter, Sen. James Inhofe proposed a bill to give the Senate oversight over the President’s appointments of EPA Regional Administrators. However, environmental activism within the EPA is more widespread and characteristic of the agency than a single regional administrator.
On January 12th, 2010, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson issued an annual memo to all EPA employees titled “Seven Priorities for EPA’s Future”. In this memo, she outlined points including “taking action on climate change” to “cleaning up our communities”. There is one point, though, that should raise eyebrows from those of us on the right: “Expanding the Conversation on Environmentalism and Working for Environmental Justice”. In this point, Jackson stated, “We must include environmental justice principles in all of our decisions.”
For those of you unfamiliar with Environmental Justice, the EPA defines Environmental Justice as:
…the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.
Environmental Justice first gained momentum in 1994 when then-President Bill Clinton issued Executive Order 12898 to “address environmental justice in minority populations and low-income populations”. Clinton’s Executive Order provides the basis for Lisa Jackson’s EJ 2014 plan. This 189 page blueprint outlines the EPA’s efforts to implement an all-encompassing enforcement and regulatory strategy to achieve environmental justice. EJ 2014 is the Obama Administration’s plan to redistribute wealth to “historically underrepresented communities” as compensation for wealthier companies or industries “polluting” their communities.
To date, the EPA, as outlined in EJ 2014, has given more than $114 million to local community groups through the EPA’s CARE (Community Action for a Renewed Environment) program to pursue community awareness of environmental justice. The plan intends to modify the factors determining federal permitting for energy exploration, emissions, and other permits:
The intent of Plan EJ 2014: Considering Environmental Justice in Permitting (Environmental Justice Permitting Initiative) is to ensure that environmental justice concerns are given as full consideration as possible in the decision to issue a permit and the terms of the permits issued under existing federal environmental laws.
The decision of the EPA to issue a permit for something such as oil drilling will now engage environmental justice concerns- even going so far as to pay for travel, food, and lodging for community members to attend public comment hearings. Either way, Jackson’s EPA intends to develop “…protocols for factoring environmental justice into permit conditions, regardless of the level of public participation.” Effectively, the EPA is saying they will issue permits and permit conditions with environmental justice as the foundation regardless of public input.
Jackson’s plan uses Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and tasks Eric Holder’s beloved Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department in determining criminal action and regulatory decisions. It goes so far as using environmental justice to prioritize regulatory and legal enforcement actions, including criminal prosecution. In other words, the EPA can use a plant’s proximity to a low-income or high minority population as its basis for a regulatory enforcement or legal action rather than facts or science documenting the occurrence of pollution or contamination.
Furthermore, Obama’s EPA and DOJ intend to utilize information obtained pursuant to the Crime Victims Rights Act in “developing environmental crimes case resolutions (e.g. restitution).” This makes an individual’s race, income, and national origin the foundation for damage assessment in environmental legal action. In the plan, EPA policy takes Title VI enforcement even further:
Under EPA’s Title VI regulations, recipients of EPA financial assistance are prohibited from, among other things, using “criteria or methods of administering its program which have the effect of subjecting individuals to discrimination based on their race, color, or national origin. For example, facially-neutral policies or practices that result in discriminatory effects violate EPA’s Title VI regulations, unless it is shown that they are justified and that there is no less discriminatory alternative.
Thus, even if a color-neutral policy is enforced, an entity is still exposed to legal liability for discrimination based upon race, color, or national origin because a perceived discriminatory act occurred. With EJ 2014 policy, pollution in an area can be construed as a violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act based upon the affected community’s race or ethnicity- not the harm caused by pollution.
The plan takes things beyond the realm of legal justification and chooses to “transform” how the EPA formulates and conducts its research. Rather than science-driven policy, the EPA, as it has been doing, will pursue policy-driven science that creates
…mechanisms to incorporate perspectives from community-based organizations and community leaders into EPA’s research agendas and engage in collaborative partnerships with them on science and research to address environmental justice.
This blows the door wide open for organizations like the now-defunct ACORN or extortionists like Al Sharpton’s National Action Network to influence the direction and results of scientific inquiry within the EPA.
The blueprint Lisa Jackson outlined with EJ 2014 is the radical future the Obama Administration has for the United States. It is not about economic growth nor is it about protecting communities from toxins or pollutants; it is about ensuring the desires of environmental extremists are met while satiating the appetite of the Obama Administration’s desire to spread the wealth.
It’s time our members of Congress fought this massive regulatory burden on our nation. The EPA is nothing more than a green mafia bent on any means to achieve their extremist ends.
If you don’t believe me, let’s pose this question: Who was tasked with ensuring the whole Obama Administration adopted environmental justice policies?
The answer is EPA Region 6- headed until recently by Al ‘Crucify them’ Armendariz.
Conservatives must start with the EPA to achieve tangible results in cutting back federal government. It’s time the EPA became extinct.