It's scandalous! And there's more
You probably know about Obama's troubles: the Benghazi story about the attack that killed four Americans and the aftermath that falsely blamed a YouTube video, the Internal Revenue Service targeting of conservative groups for extra scrutiny while giving liberals a pass, and, the probe conducted by the Justice Department on journalists' phone calls.
All reveal a propensity to massage the message and reward friends while destroying enemies. In addition to the three-widely covered stories, here are three more with the same characteristics.
EPA Favors Friendlies
A few days ago, the Washington Examiner reported on how the Environmental Protection Agency applies its Freedom of Information Act fee waiver policy. The results are scandalous.
Fees for producing FOIA documents can run into six figures.
On Friday, May 17, Senator Vitter's office sent a letter to the EPA requesting "your prompt attention to this matter as we investigate EPA's process for granting FOIA fee waivers." In the letter, four lawmakers state: "According to documents obtained by the committees, EPA readily granted FOIA fee waivers for liberal environmental groups-effectively subsidizing them-while denying fee waivers and making the FOIA process more difficult for states and conservative groups. This disparate treatment is unacceptable, especially in light of the recent controversy over abusive tactics at the Internal Revenue Service, which singled out conservative groups for special scrutiny."
The letter reveals that the "EPA manipulated the FOIA fee waiver process." Fee waiver requests sent by environmental groups were granted for 92% of the requests while EPA denied a fee waiver for 93% of requests from the Competitive Enterprise Institute and overall only granted fee waivers for other think tanks 27% of the time. "The startling disparity in treatment strongly suggests EPA's actions are possibly part of a broader effort to collude with groups that share the agency's political agenda and discriminate against states and conservative organizations. This is a clear abuse of discretion."
All requests from the Institute for Energy Research were denied.
Wind farms get a pass
We see the same "startling disparity in treatment" in the way the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act is applied-both make the killing of a single bird, without a permit, illegal. On May 14, The Associated Press reported on an investigation that showed that nearly 600,000 birds are killed each year by wind farms.
Yet, "so far, the companies operating industrial-sized turbines É that are killing eagles and other protected birds have yet to be fined or prosecuted - even though every death is a criminal violation. The Obama administration has charged oil companies for drowning birds in their waste pits, and power companies for electrocuting birds on power lines. But the administration has never fined or prosecuted a wind-energy company." It's scandalous.
Back in August 2011, oil company executives were hauled into court by prominent Democratic donor and fundraiser Timothy Purdon, the U.S. Attorney for North Dakota, over the death of 28 migratory birds - including ducks. The case was thrown out of federal court in January 2012 by district Judge Daniel Hovland, who rejected Purdon's "expansive interpretation of the law." The Wall Street Journal called the ruling "withering" and said the "selective prosecution was probably an expression of its political hostility to oil and gas companies."
Similarly, the AP reports that ExxonMobil paid $600,000 for killing 85 birds and BP was fined "$100 million for killing and harming migratory birds during the 2010 Gulf oil spill. And PacifiCorp, which operates coal plants in Wyoming, paid more than $10.5 million in 2009 for electrocuting 232 eagles along power lines and at its substations."
Former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service enforcement agent Tom Eicher aptly sums up the scandal: "What it boils down to is this: If you electrocute an eagle, that is bad, but if you chop it to pieces, that is OK." Yet, in an interview with the AP before his departure, former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar "denied any preferential treatment for wind."
Propping up green energy
We see similar favoritism across the bigger energy spectrum. Despite President Obama's frequent touting of increased domestic oil and gas production, federal government policies are suppressing development.
Additionally, despite numerous reports regarding the positive economic impacts and environmental safety of the Keystone pipeline it has been continuously delayed - now for more than 1,700 days.
Meanwhile the feds are propping up projects that have been repeatedly found to be failures - but that benefit Democratic donors.
Through Obama's 2009 Stimulus Bill, nearly $100 billion dollars have been made available for green energy projects. Nearly all of the Department of Energy-funded projects have meaningful political connections and many got special treatment - such as fast-tracked approvals with little scrutiny over environmental damages that would have taken traditional energy projects months, if not years, to get - from the Department of Interior. Denying the dismal record, Obama's 2014 budget calls for more taxpayer dollars for green energy projects. It's scandalous.
Now that The Hill is holding hearings and investigations on Benghazi, the IRS, the AP, the EPA, and the green energy industry's killing of protected species, it is time to look at the financial and regulatory favors extended to "friendlies" while erecting obstacles to anything or anyone they oppose-and that includes the green-energy, crony-corruption scandal that could be the biggest of them all.
The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens' Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE).