Facts Don’t Back Up Conservative Claims Of Bias At the EPA

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy

From a dozen attorneys general to Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Republicans have amplified the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s claim the Environmental Protection Agency gave preference to liberal groups in granting waivers. The number from CEI, a Koch-funded venture, that quickly picked up steam among conservative sites was a claim the EPA rejected 70-90 percent of FOIA fee waiver requests from conservative groups, while it accepted 90 percent from liberal groups.

That divide would indeed be big, if those happened to be the correct numbers. When Politico expanded its examination to a larger number of groups, it found no major difference:

POLITICO found a much more modest disparity after examining records of nearly 700 EPA decisions over 15 months: Liberal requesters received fee waivers 52 percent of the time, compared with a 39 percent rate for conservatives.

And that 13 percentage point gap may still not be evidence of bias. Multiple factors complicate a direct comparison between the liberals’ and conservatives’ results.

For starters, liberal groups made almost eight times as many waiver requests as conservatives. If EPA had approved just four more of the conservatives’ 31 requests, their success rates would have been the same.

The most common reason the EPA cited for denied requests was that they did not have any intent to convey information for “public interest,” a core point for the EPA.

Meanwhile, CEI’s study, attempting to link the EPA and the IRS, has a number of flaws: For instance, it compared a larger sampling of environmental groups compared to a smaller number of conservatives, and the EPA’s own numbers also indicate it denied far fewer waivers than CEI claims.

Even so, that has not stopped attorneys general from filing a lawsuit against the EPA based on CEI’s flawed allegations.

3 Responses to Facts Don’t Back Up Conservative Claims Of Bias At the EPA

  1. Shelley says:

    And if the EPA doesn’t respond in 20 days? CEI takes them to court.

    The EPA responds as quickly as it can, considering its budget keeps getting cut.

    What CEI is doing is wasting tax payer money. It is deliberately seeking to put EPA into situations where it can’t possibly succeed, and then shouts about it to the world.

  2. FWhite says:

    Excuse my cynicism, but what the hell do ‘facts’ have to do with anything in this age? Those with money and power get to call the shots.

    George Carlin had it exactly right in his prescient political shtick ‘The American Dream’ viewable here

  3. But facts have a well-known liberal bias!