by Rich Edson
Obama administration critics charge the Environmental Protection Agency cajoled the public into supporting a controversial proposed regulation with an unprecedented social media campaign, pushing the boundaries of legal agency advocacy.
To enact a regulation, federal agencies typically propose a rule, allow the public to comment on that proposal and then alter the final regulation based on those comments.
Last year, the EPA unveiled a proposed regulation to expand its authority over America’s waterways under the Clean Water Act. Then, it launched a social media campaign to draw public support.
The EPA said it received nearly 900,000 comments on its Clean Water Act proposal. Before a congressional hearing, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy testified that 87 percent of those comments supported her agency’s proposal.
Critics pushed back.
“When an agency does what happened here, which is to propose a rule and then immediately embark on a PR campaign … It looks like the agency’s predetermined the outcome,” said Ellen Steen, the general counsel of the American Farm Bureau Federation. “It looks like the agency isn’t thoughtfully considering public input.”
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Source: Fox News