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EPA hires million-dollar lobbyist

By Henry Lamb
web posted May 6, 2002

What else would you call it? The EPA gives a DC firm a million dollars, and then, the head of that firm appears at three Appropriations Committee hearings to say that the EPA needs more money. Sounds like lobbying to me.

The firm is a not-for-profit organization called STAPPA/ALAPCO, which are two organizations sharing the same offices and staff at 444 North Capitol Street: State and Territorial Pollution Program Administrators, and Association of Local Air Pollution Control Officials.

Since its first EPA grant in 1977, of $4,408 to hold an Emission Control Conference in Falls Church, Virginia, this outfit has received 49 grants from the EPA, that total $13,190,826; of which, $10,006,968 has been awarded since 1990.

Why is the EPA giving your tax dollars to this NGO?

Aside from regular appearances before Congressional committees, these folks are an extremely effective Public Relations firm. They claim members in 54 states and territories, and 165 major metropolitan areas. Most of the members are paid, at least in part, by grants from the EPA.

These people are government officials who have formed a non-profit association, funded by the EPA, to promote, and implement the policies of the EPA, and lobby for more tax dollars to do it.

The association adopted a resolution on global climate change in 1997, and another resolution on greenhouse gas emissions in 1998. Both are listed on their web site, but the actual resolutions are mysteriously absent.

This association sent a delegation to the U.N. climate change meetings in Bonn, Kyoto, Buenos Aires, The Hague, and Marrakesh - paid for with your tax dollars.

This association works closely with the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, and other international NGOs that craft the U.N. policies which are adopted as treaties, and then are implemented by federal government agencies such as the EPA, through national NGOs consisting of local officials who are paid by the EPA - with your money.

During the 1999-2001 budget years, STAPPA/ALAPCO received three grants totaling $1,972,354. Before the cycle ended, they received another two grants for the 2000-2002 period, totaling $515,741. And before this cycle ended, they received another grant for the 2001-2003 period for $1,071,326. Is this double dipping, or what?

This NGO is actually a PGO, as some call it - a Private Government Organization. It appears to operate on funds provided by the EPA, for the purposes of getting EPA more funding from Congress, and to promote EPA policies. Is this appropriate use of tax dollars?

This NGO, however is just the tip of the iceberg. All agencies have their favorite PGOs and NGOs that are eager to do the agency's bidding in exchange for fat grants. "Riverkeepers" police local "Heritage Rivers" - at your expense. "Stakeholder" meetings are organized and facilitated by PGOs and NGOs - at your expense. NGOs actually sue the government to advance their agenda, and then bill the government for legal fees - at your expense.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development gave the American Planning Association at least $2 million to develop its "Growing Smart Legislative Guidebook," which Congress seems hell-bent on getting implemented at the state and local level by providing $125 million in bribe money for local communities that agree to implement the guidebook's recommendations.

The 1976 U.N. document which sets forth the principles of land use control, and which the guidebook's recommendations would implement, was signed for the U.S., by William K. Reilly, former head of the EPA, and by Carla Hills, former U.S. Trade Negotiator.

The policy - development, promotion, implementation - technique, using PGOs and NGOs is a masterful strategy devised at the international level and perfected in the U.S. during the 1990s, especially through Bill Clinton's President's Council on Sustainable Development.

Nowhere in my research could I find government grants to organizations that promote the principles of freedom, private property rights, or free-markets. But then I shouldn't. These organizations generally believe that it is inappropriate for the government to use tax dollars for these purposes.

It is equally inappropriate for government agencies to use tax dollars to lobby, or promote agency policy. Congress should bring this practice to a speedy end.

Congress, though, has condoned, and funded this process. Perhaps it's time to bring to a speedy end to the career of the Congressmen who support this inappropriate practice.

Henry Lamb is the executive vice president of the Environmental Conservation Organization, and chairman of Sovereignty International.

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