The Hill discusses ending the EPA’s slush fund with William Yeatman.
Principles are to be found in many places, a blessing in the Beltway where principles are needed on a daily basis. One such principle is enshrined in the appropriations clause of the constitution: “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.” And here is another principle not found in the constitution: “Punish your enemies and reward your friends.”
One might think that the constitutional principle would dominate the political one, particularly by public officials sworn to support and defend the former. Alas, one would be wrong, a discouraging reality illustrated clearly by the practice of the Environmental Protection Agency over recent years in terms of using settlements of enforcement actions to subsidize its favored industrial groups.
Consider for example a violation of environmental rules both recent and egregious: the Volkswagen diesel emissions cheating scandal. The settlement of claims from that set of violations of the Clean Air Act will cost Volkswagen about $14.7 billion, of which about $1.5 billion is a civil penalty. Volkswagen is also required to spend $2 billion on charging stations and promotion of electric vehicles.
The Volkswagen settlement is hardly the only such mitigation project (slush fund) created with EPA litigation agreements. William Yeatman of the Competitive Enterprise Institute notes that since 2005 the EPA and the Justice Department have reached eighteen settlements under the Clean Air Act directing over $74 million to renewable energy projects, $257 million to energy efficiency projects and $1.2 billion (actually $2 billion) to electric vehicle infrastructure. All except $7 million was negotiated during the Obama administration.
Read the full article at The Hill.