Saturday, April 4, 2020

Smith says criticisms of EPA WOTUS campaigns vindicated by GAO report

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX)
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX)
U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), chairman of the Science, Space and Technology Committee, reiterated his criticisms of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) campaigning efforts following the release of a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) earlier this week.

“GAO’s report provides independent confirmation of the committee’s investigation that the EPA engaged in covert attempts to skirt anti-lobbying laws in collusion with environmental activists,” Smith said. “Earlier this year, I demanded information from EPA and conducted interviews with senior EPA officials about the agency’s inappropriate lobbying of outside organizations to generate grassroots support. At a July hearing this year with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Environmental Subcommittee Chairman Jim Bridenstine presented evidence that the agency and its officials inappropriately pressured EPA personnel to use their social media accounts to promote positive comments on EPA rules, including the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule.”

According to the report, the EPA’s social media efforts violated laws that prohibit federal agencies from promoting their own actions. The GAO was particularly critical of the agency’s use of Thunderclap, an amplification tool for Twitter.

“Furthermore, the GAO report states that the EPA used appropriated funds for the purpose of grassroots lobbying, which is illegal under U.S. law," Smith said. "GAO’s findings independently confirm that the EPA is willing to break the law in order to implement this Administration’s extreme environmental agenda.”

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United States House Committee on Science, Space and Technology

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