Dear Representative Tim Walberg (R-MI),
I oppose H.R. 5226 as it appears to further encumber government with additional unnecessary and excessive bureaucracy. To be honest, it looks like an ill-conceived partisan effort to undermine the EPA under the guise of transparency. The problem with your bill is that (1) I think you are a hypocrite and (2) you obviously have no idea that what H.R. 5226 supposedly aims to achieve already exists.
Why are you a hypocrite? According to the New York Times article cited on your website, “Late last year, the E.P.A. sponsored a drive on Facebook and Twitter to promote its proposed clean water rule in conjunction with the Sierra Club. At the same time, Organizing for Action, a grass-roots group with deep ties to Mr. Obama, was also pushing the rule. They urged the public to flood the agency with positive comments to counter opposition from farming and industry groups.” You justify having introduced the used piece of toilet paper known as H.R. 5226 because “The EPA has been overreaching its authority for some time, and the agency’s covert campaign to sway the outcome of the harmful Waters of the US rule is a prime example. Now we know, based on an independent report, that the EPA did indeed engage in illegal lobbying methods. The Regulatory Integrity Act will ensure the EPA and other federal agencies operate the rulemaking process in an open and transparent manner to prevent such misconduct in the future.” Ah. I see.
If you don’t want the federal government using social media, I suggest you talk to your President instead of introducing worthless legislation such as the “Regulatory Integrity Act”, a.k.a., H.R. 5226. . If you had any decency or common sense, you would have withdrawn H.R.5226 as soon as the former attorney general for the State of Oklahoma Scott Pruitt, our new head of the Environmental Protection Agency, was appointed. Why? Because while you were wringing your hands over the EPA using social media to raise awareness, Mr. Pruitt was copying and pasting letters WRITTEN BY LOBBYISTS WHO WERE GIVING HIM MONEY onto official letterhead of the Office of Attorney General of the State of Oklahoma, signing, dating and sending them to federal agencies as if he had personally written them.
Yeah, in case you haven’t heard, more than 7,500 pages of newly released emails from the Oklahoma attorney general's office have exposed Pruitt's relationship with Devon Energy, including evidence of him allowing the energy giant's top lobbyists to draft and edit letters sent to top federal officials on behalf of Oklahoma and other state attorneys general. The emails confirm years of cushy ties between Pruitt and Devon Energy dating back to at least October 2011, when Pruitt also signed a letter drafted by Devon Energy officials and sent it to the head of the EPA. That exchange was first reported by The New York Times in December 2014 (any chance you read THAT article?). It seems this type of quid pro quo occurred multiple times.
For example, the emails revealed that, in an effort to weaken federal environmental regulations, Pruitt was close with other groups including but not limited to, the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers association, major oil and gas producers, electric utilities and political groups with ties to the libertarian billionaire brothers Charles G. and David H. Koch. According to Arnold Hamilton, editor of the Oklahoma Observer, "He's supposed to be the people's lawyer. He's supposed to be a voice for the people, an independent voice. And instead, he comes across very much looking like a toadie for big money financial groups." And yet, you obviously still feel there is more work to be done in dismantling the EPA. I wonder, Representative Walberg, who lines your pockets? I mean, why else would you continue to pursue the evisceration of the EPA even after the appointment of Pruitt? Hmm… maybe you just don’t want ANY part of the federal government using public media to raise awareness and support? Honestly, I don’t know. Hey, how about you introduce legislation that says it’s ok for Attorney’s General to submit letters on governmental letterhead that were written by lobbyists? Ya know, in the interest of transparency and all.
Regarding your ignorance of the Federal Register (seriously, you introduced legislation to require “the publication of information relating to pending regulatory actions), I’d like to share some cool info with you: The Federal Register is published daily and includes notices, proposed rules, new rules and other significant documents. All Federal Register documents since *1994* are posted to https://www.federalregister.gov/ YOU CAN EVEN SUBSCRIBE TO IT AND GET A DAILY EMAIL FROM THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES AND RECORDS ADMINISTRATION.
FYI, today's issue of the Federal Register be found here: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/current and includes rules from almost every department of government. It also breaks down topics into six easy to search categories: money, environment, world, science & technology, business & industry, health & public welfare. Each category is broken down into additional subparts, including identifying how many new documents were added in the last year. Good luck in the next election.