Congressman Jim Bridenstine Calls Out EPA Administrator for Abusing Rulemaking Process
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Congressman Jim Bridenstine challenged EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy on her agency’s lobbying and activation of environmental groups in a House Science Committee hearing today. Bridenstine presented evidence that the agency and its officials inappropriately pressured EPA personnel to use their social media accounts to promote positive comments on the controversial Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. EPA management urged employees to participate in a “Thunderclap” which is a social media tool that uses multiple personal accounts to simultaneously broadcast a message to thousands of users.
The EPA used social media outreach to generate nearly a million positive comments on the rule, and then used those comments to justify the necessity of the rule. Bridenstine asked if McCarthy had undertaken an official legal analysis on the appropriateness of using employees to advocate for and generate support for a proposed rule. Bridenstine contended that she had “hijacked” the process in at least an ethical violation if not breaking the anti-lobbying laws prohibiting federal employees from lobbying using taxpayer dollars.
Her only response was that the employee who had expressed concern over the technique had been “counseled” about making his complaint.
Bridenstine commented, “There are two issues here. First, it appears that the agency violated the anti-lobbying act, and second, they induced employees to advocate for a proposed rule, distorting the public comment process.”
A video of the exchange between Congressman Bridenstine and Administrator McCarthy is available at:
New York Times articles on this questionable process:
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