In recent years, the Environmental Protection Agency has created its own power of the purse independent of Congress by negotiating broad settlements with alleged violators of environmental statutes that require them to pay for the president’s—not Congress’s—political priorities. The Volkswagen settlement is the most recent example. In order to mitigate penalties paid to the U.S. Treasury for its “defeat device” scandal, the car company agreed to spend $1.2 billion on electric vehicles, despite the fact that Congress had rejected President Obama’s request for $300 million for this same purpose. The Competitive Enterprise Institute’s latest report, Ending the EPA’s Billion Dollar Green Energy Rip-Off, provides the context and the solution for ending the agency’s political slush fund.
“While the Trump administration has taken the right steps to put an end to this attempt by the EPA to act with the power of the purse that it doesn’t have, more can be done both by the agency and Congress to ensure this political behavior doesn’t return,” said CEI Senior Fellow and report author William Yeatman.