EPA confesses to handing out farmers’ personal information to activist-lawyers.

Executive summary (H/T: AoSHQ): the EPA just admitted that, yeah, it gave out a bunch of personal information about farmers and ranchers – including phone numbers, email addresses, regular addresses, and whatnot – to various environmental groups.  The EPA also is kind of admitting that, yeah, maybe it shouldn’t have given out that information, which is why they’ve asked those groups to give that information back (note that the EPA apparently didn’t even bother to ask that the groups give back the information without making copies first).  This is not amusing Senator John Thune, because a) the damage is done; b) apparently nobody in the EPA talks to Agriculture & Homeland Security, which both decided not to make this particular information available in a database; and c) there’s a question about whether or not all of this violates the Privacy Act of 1974.

Before we go into the specific point about this situation that I wish to highlight, let me make a general observation to people who like big government; there are a lot of stories like this out there, just waiting to be found.  There always are.  But right now, we have a combination of factors that will bring these stories to the surface: there is an existing pattern of consistent government overreach, an administration that is increasingly being associated with heavy-handed, somewhat incompetent use of policy as a weapon, and a media that has just internalized the revelation that the government is reading their mail, too.  This could go on all summer, and probably will.

But back to the EPA!  Please, pay close attention to this part:

The EPA said the data was related to farms in 29 states with “concentrated animal feeding operations” and that the released information was part of the agency’s commitment to “ensure clean water and public-health protection.”

The groups wanted the information, they say, because such large-scale operations are a major source of water pollution and they want to hold the EPA accountable for enforcing the Clean Water Act.

Critics have characterized Earth Justice and the organizations as being “extremist groups” and say the released information included data on family farmers who feed fewer than 1,000 animals, which excludes them from having to comply with the Act.

Continue reading EPA confesses to handing out farmers’ personal information to activist-lawyers.

The War On Bees?

One of the problems with policy positions is that, well, sometimes the knowledge that you need to figure out what the heck is really going on is kind of obscure.  Case in point: a lawsuit going on right now involving the EPA over a particular kind of pesticide, and its effect on bees (which recently had the equivalent of a deadly pandemic).  Cue the New York Times:

Last year, researchers identified a virus as a major cause of the die-off; the latest suspect is a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids, which are used to protect common agricultural seeds, including corn. The insecticides are systemic, which means they persist throughout the life of the plant. Scientists have demonstrated that exposure to these chemicals damages bees’ brain function, including their ability to home in on the hive.

In mid-March, environmental groups and beekeepers sued the Environmental Protection Agency to persuade it to withdraw its approval of two of the most widely used neonicotinoids. The manufacturers of these chemicals — notably Syngenta and Bayer CropScience — have claimed again and again that they are safe. And it is true that bees face other stresses. Even so, beekeepers managed to keep their hives relatively healthy before the increased use of neonicotinoids began in 2005.

Note that the NYT didn’t actually say that the virus was caused by neonicotinoids (which is good, because it’s not*): but they are kind of implying it.
Continue reading The War On Bees?

Some update links on Lisa Jackson.

Some links on the Lisa Jackson / Richard Windsor sudden-retirement “thing.”

Watts Up With That?

U.S. Senator David Vitter (R-La.) made the following statement today after the outgoing U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson released a portion of her emails that have been under scrutiny for using a secondary email alias, “Richard Windsor.” The EPA has also redacted names in the emails using a Freedom of Information Act exemption that does not apply to the released emails.

“This strikes me as incredibly fishy and begs a number of important questions,” Vitter said.

Continue reading Some update links on Lisa Jackson.

Report: EPA head Lisa Jackson resigned in a huff over Keystone Pipeline.

Very interesting, if this NY Post report is true:

EPA chief Lisa Jackson suddenly resigned last week because she was convinced that President Obama is planning to green-light the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline, The Post has learned.

“She was going to stay on until November or December,” said a Jackson insider. “But this changed it. She will not be the EPA head when Obama supports it [Keystone] getting built.”

…And if true: good news, and good riddance.  I’ve got nothing against other people’s religions per se, but I get a little cranky when radical theocratic extremists like Jackson try to impose their bizarre Gaia-worship on the rest of us.  And let’s not even get into the profoundly anti-scientific nature of the modern Greenies*.  Hopefully, the next EPA head Obama appoints won’t be so addicted to fuzzy thinking as Lisa Jackson was…

Moe Lane (crosspost)

*Particularly since Mark Lynas will be happy to do that for me, at least when it comes to Genetically Modified Organisms.  Note that Lynas is not entirely sound on the subject of the Greenies, considering that he still seems to think that the same people who are so profoundly messed up on GMOs and nuclear power yet somehow become infinitely more respectable when it comes to, say, global warming.  Still, I can’t find it in my heart to be too critical of a man who will dare praise Norman Borlaug** to a room full of environmentalists.

**Norman Borlaug?  Oh, he was an Iowan agronomist. Noteworthy for being a good wrestler in his youth and a devoted family man.  Oh, and the entire ‘saved a billion people from starving to death’ thing.

Lisa Jackson forced out of EPA.

Ostensible reason:

[Lisa] Jackson, 50, a chemical engineer by training and a mom of two teenagers, offered no reason for her resignation other than saying she’s ready for “new challenges, time with my family and new opportunities to make a difference.” She said she was leaving the EPA “confident the ship is sailing in the right direction.”

Actual reason:

This month, at the prodding of congressional Republicans, the EPA’s inspector general said he was opening an inquiry into Jackson’s use of a secondary e-mail account for official business.She said she had the account — named “Richard Windsor” after the name of her dog and her former home in Windsor Township, N.J. — because her public e-mail address was well known.

This is what we call a “stealth” catastrophic meltdown: Jackson’s ability to function in DC effectively cratered as soon as this came out, anyway.  A pity that the Media won’t destroy this woman’s reputation for the way that she hypocritically  contravened good-government transparency, but at least she’s going to be gone.  And good riddance.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

Electoral implications of the Obama Administration’s War on Coal.

Will this be the 2012 election map?

If the Obama administration keeps up their War on Coal (literally: they consider coal more dangerous than terrorism), quite possibly.  And it may be at least partially because of coal. Continue reading Electoral implications of the Obama Administration’s War on Coal.

#rsrh Is YouTube participating in a coverup? …wonders Senator Jim Inhofe.

Background here: essentially, Inhofe’s staff put up a very embarrassing video of an EPA employee gloating about ‘crucifying’ (i.e., making examples of) random individuals and companies in order to encourage fear and compliance among the rest of the populace.  The video has since been removed, and the Senator would like to know why:

[Inhofe spokesman Matt] Dempsey wrote that “we will be looking into an official response for YouTube to the claim brought forward by David McFatridge of ‘Citizen Media for We The People,’ in the morning.”

“In short, the video we cut and posted to our YouTube channel came from a YouTube channel, ‘Citizen Media for We The People,’ that said reuse is allowed and we attributed the site in the description of the video,” Dempsey added. “Further in our original website post for our media advisory, we also included a link to the original source. …. Finally, it appears as of late yesterday afternoon that Citizen Media for We The People took down all of the video content relating to Armendariz’s hourlong comments.”

Continue reading #rsrh Is YouTube participating in a coverup? …wonders Senator Jim Inhofe.

#rsrh House Natural Resources Committee orders special briefcases*.

Well now.

House panel votes to issue subpoenas to administration officials involved in doctoring a report on the Gulf oil spill to justify a moratorium and in squelching another that concludes EPA regulations will kill jobs.

The 23-17 vote by the House Natural Resources Committee authorizes subpoenas that will go to agencies such as the Interior Department and the Environmental Protection Agency regarding two issues affecting domestic energy production and jobs.

(Via  @streiffredstate)

:sing-song: E-lect-ions mat-ter…


Sorry.  I thought that I had more, but that was pretty much everything that I wanted to write.  Because they do.

Moe Lane Continue reading #rsrh House Natural Resources Committee orders special briefcases*.

EPA orders NYC around on Yonkers reservoir.

Today in the Wall Street Journal we have a fairly caustic editorial about the EPA and its determination to make the city of New York pay for a 1.6 billion dollar cover for a Yonkers water reservoir, whether NYC wants to or not.  Which the city of NYC does not want to do, partially because they don’t have the money, and partially because the specific problem that the EPA is demanding that NYC address isn’t actually a problem for the reservoir.  And what is this specific problem?

Why, it’s the scourge of cryptosporidium (or ‘crypto’), of course.


Cryptosporidium. Continue reading EPA orders NYC around on Yonkers reservoir.

Banning Abortion the EPA way!

Thomas Sowell has an article out today about the latest incidence of mission creep from the EPA.  To summarize: the EPA has wide discretion when it comes to oil spills.  Milk contains oil.  Therefore, the EPA has wide discretion over milk spills, too – which includes requiring ’emergency plans’ and ‘first responders’ and ‘extra storage tanks’ from dairy farmers in order to handle such life- and civilization-threatening events as milk getting spilled*.  And, no, this is not an exaggeration: Cato reported on this back in JuneThis is happening.

Now, Hot Air and Ace of Spades both waxed wroth on this, in their individual ways – but I asked myself, Self?  How can I make this work for us? And lo! – the answer was easy.

Continue reading Banning Abortion the EPA way!