Adam Andrzejewski, Contributor
Why does the EPA need a $715 million police force, a $170 million PR Machine, a nearly $1 billion employment agency for seniors, and a $1.2 billion in-house law firm?
During last week’s Democratic presidential primary debate, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said the most important adversary of the United States was "climate change." The EPA is ready for the fight in ways taxpayers haven’t imagined.
Recently, our organization, American Transparency, published our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. We captured and analyzed $110 billion worth of EPA contracts (FY2000-2014), grants (FY2000-2014), salaries (FY2007-2014) and bonuses (FY2000-2014).
We weren’t surprised to discover a large, powerful and aggressive governmental organization. From its birth by the Executive Order of President Richard Nixon, the EPA has staked out an adversarial position vs. American business to protect the environment.
What we didn’t expect to learn is that if the EPA knocks on your door, its enforcers may come equipped with the latest in weaponry and technology.
Since 2006, the EPA Criminal Enforcement Program spent approximately $715 million fighting ‘enviro-crime.’ With 200 Special Agents, the EPA also spent millions of dollars on military-style weaponry.
For example: $2.1 million purchased guns and ammo up to 300MM – the majority of these expenditures were on weapons "up to 30MM" ($1.73 million).
Other checkbook entries included body armor, camouflage and deceptive equipment, unmanned aircraft, night vision, radar equipment, tactical sets, kits, and outfits, transport vehicles passenger and troop, and $6.6 million in joint "policing" projects with Homeland Security. EPA also purchased shotgun ammunition, Bushmaster rifles, mobile GPS units, puncture-protective gloves, amphibious assault ships, and much more.
In addition to the EPA police force, a division of nearly 200 "Public Affairs Officers" were paid salaries of $145 million since 2007. Seven out of 10 PR staffers also received performance bonuses. But even that wasn’t enough. The EPA also spent $26 million with outside PR consulting firms since 2000.
Yet, the EPA’s PR spending was dwarfed by the lawyers. The EPA loves lawyers. Nearly $1.2 billion in salary flowed to more than 1,000 lawyers since 2007. In fact, more money was spent on "General Attorneys" than on chemists, general health scientists, ecologists, chemists, microbiologists, geologists, hydrologists, toxicologists, biologists, physical scientists, and health physicists combined.
When the EPA is sued, the Department of Justice defends the EPA in court. So, why does the EPA need 1,020 lawyers? One reason is to advance the EPA’s anti-capitalist Environmental Justice movement and it’s $32 million in grants. Environmental Justice essentially declares that corporations are bad because the pollution from capitalism, through the effects of climate change, disproportionally harms minorities and the poor.
While the EPA self-righteously promotes Environmental Justice, the agency isn’t treating its senior workforce with economic justice. Nearly $1 billion was spent on the Senior Environmental Employment Program (SEE) to hire retired or unemployed seniors to use their life experience to better the environment. Under EPA directives, a senior civil engineer in Iowa is paid $12.87 per hour and many seniors make as little as $7.87 per hour.
This ‘senior pay’ program stands in stark contrast to the highly compensated EPA regular workforce. Seven out of every 10 EPA employees make over $100,000 per year and $144 million in performance bonuses were awarded since 2007. A few bonuses reached $60,000 a year.
The EPA also makes sure its enviro-warriors enjoy stylish accommodations. Last month at Forbes, we showcased the EPA purchase of over $92 million in luxury, high-end furniture leases, purchases, moving, and expenses.
Here’s a snapshot of further findings:
- If the EPA was one of the fifty states, last year they would rank 42nd based on total annual spending.
- Ranked against the largest American law firms, with 1,020 in-house lawyers, EPA would rank 14th largest private law firm in the country.
- With $72 billion in grants since 2000, EPA would rank as the largest private foundation in the country. This is 20 times the giving by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Did we mention the EPA also possesses your meta-data footprint? That includes personal credit histories, business data, private property details, utility records, and state police "Leeds" arrest/criminal files. So much for civil liberties.
Last week during the debate, Sanders issued a "climate change" clarion call. Little did taxpayers know the EPA already was amassing weapons. Now it’s time for taxpayers to arm themselves with facts and expose the EPA’s spending habits before we lose even more freedom to this overzealous and bloated federal agency.
Adam Andrzejewski is the Chairman of American Transparency (website: OpenTheBooks.com) and the author of the OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – EPA