A new wrinkle pops up in the long, strange tale of the management of the Environmental Protection Agency this week. It stems from an audit of the department’s spending conducted by Open the Books, a nonprofit outfit pushing for more transparency in the federal government. This comes on the heels of previous revelations, such as the discovery that the EPA had run up a $92M tab for designer furniture recently. But this one is even more curious. Rather than blowing moderately big dollars on designer roll away desks, the EPA has apparently been dumping more than a million dollars into equipping a small army. (Daily Signal)
The headline of an op-ed by economist Stephen Moore in Investor’s Business Daily sums it up well: “Why Does the EPA Need Guns, Ammo, and Armor to Protect the Environment?”
And not just a few weapons. Open the Books found that the agency has spent millions of dollars over the last decade on guns, ammo, body armor, camouflage equipment, unmanned aircraft, amphibious assault ships, radar and night-vision gear, and other military-style weaponry and surveillance activities.
“We were shocked ourselves to find these kinds of pervasive expenditures at an agency that is supposed to be involved in clean air and clean water,” said Open the Books founder Adam Andrzejewski. “Some of these weapons are for full-scale military operations.”
So the obvious question here is… why? Their report cites one instance where the EPA went into lands owned by a group of miners in Alaska who were potentially hostile, so they would want to be protected from any sudden attack. But even that really doesn’t make all that much sense. A journey like that would obviously require a lot pf planning and preparation, and the feds have any number of other agencies who are fully trained and equipped to handle potentially explosive situations. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to bring a team from Homeland Security or the BATF to go with them? We have to ask how much military training a group of environmental scientists have really received which might prepare them for walking into a firefight.
To be fair, the amounts of money under discussion here aren’t all that huge in terms of the budget of the federal government, but if it’s being wasted then it’s still your tax dollars being dumped into an EPA gun locker. I suppose I could see outfitting their agents with some body armor if things looked to get dicey, but you don’t want to send scientists in to do the job of soldiers. Why spend that much money?
On a related note, I would return your attention to the aforementioned Gold King Mine spill. Congress is already interested in having a chat with the agency over this, but the EPA had said in the wake of the disaster that it just just one of those things and that nobody could have seen it coming. But in recent weeks the Department of the Interior has completed their own independent review of the spill and come to a somewhat different conclusion. The spill, they say, was entirely preventable but the clods out at the drilling site simply didn’t know what they were doing. (Denver Post)
The Environmental Protection Agency-caused Gold King Mine spill was preventable and preceded by conditions and actions that “are surprisingly prevalent” at abandoned mines, an independent review released Thursday says.
The 132-page Department of Interior report strays from an EPA internal review of the disaster in August that claimed the massive release was “inevitable.”
The Interior report highlights, specifically, that the EPA failed to understand impounded fluid in the mine and the groundwater system affecting the Gold King area.
Lots of money but apparently not so flush with competence. We’ve already learned that nobody can be fired there, but they might all at least be reassigned if we just shut this derelict department down and returned these duties to the various states. Perhaps some of our presidential candidates could make that a plank in their platform.