EPA Probes for Conflicts of Interest  Should Start In Their Own Building

(Tallahassee, FL – May 17, 2012) Prompted by a petition from two environmental interest groups, the EPA is searching for conflicts of interest among Florida's environmental officials.

"If EPA is on the hunt for conflicts of interest they can start in their own building," said Ryan Houck, executive director of Free Market Florida. "Many of EPA's top brass have extensive ties to environmental litigation groups with a clear financial interest in the outcome of major permitting battles. Somehow, I doubt the Florida Clean Water Network or PEER will be calling for their firing."

Many of EPA's top regulators are former staffers for major environmental litigants, which frequently bring suit against the agency over permitting issues. These environmental interest groups have a direct financial stake in the outcome of litigation with the EPA, which includes their ability to request attorney's fees through the Equal Access to Justice Act. Recently, EPA has drawn fire for its "sue-and-settle" formula—a process by which environmental groups bring suit against the EPA in order to trigger a rulemaking process that results in new regulations.

"The EPA has ceased to be an impartial referee on permitting matters," said Houck. "They've strapped on pads and are on the field playing for environmental extremists. It's exactly what you'd expect from a system wherein environmental interest groups serve as de facto farm teams for EPA. It's just laughable that environmental litigants are now pointing the finger at others."

A brief list of senior EPA officials who have formerly worked at environmental interest groups that often sue the EPA:

Nancy Stoner, Interim Assistant Administrator of Water
Formerly Worked for: Natural Resources Defense Council

Glenn Paulson, Chief Scientist
Formerly Worked for: Natural Resources Defense Council

Michael L. Goo, Associate Administrator for the Office of Policy
Formerly Worked for: Natural Resources Defense Council

Bob Perciasepe, Deputy Administrator
Formerly Worked for: National Audubon Society

Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator for Enforcement & Compliance
Formerly Worked for: The Conservation Law Foundation's Advocacy Center

Michelle J. DePass, Asst. Administrator for the Office of International and Tribal Affairs
Formerly Worked for: The New York City Environmental Justice Alliance

Mathy Stanislaus, Assistant Administrator for Solid Waste
Formerly Served on the Board of: NYC Environmental Justice Alliance

Curt Spalding – Region 1 Director
Formerly Worked for: "Save the Bay" and "Narragansett Bay Keeper"

Judith A. Enck – Region 2 Director
Formerly Worked for: New York PIRG and Environmental Advocates of New York

Susan Hedman – Region 5 Director
Formerly Worked for: Environmental Law and Policy Center and Center for Global Change

Karl Brooks – Region 7 Director
Formerly Worked for: Idaho Conservation League

James B. Martin – Region 8 Director
Formerly Worked for: Environmental Defense Fund

Jared Blumenfeld – Region 9 Director
Formerly Worked for: Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund, the NRDC and International Fund for Animal Welfare

Free Market Florida is a free market watchdog group affiliated with the newly launched Free Market America. The organization emerged from a coalition of business and civic leaders which, in 2010, led the successful "Vote No on 4" campaign, garnering 67 percent of the vote.

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