The EPA: Deep State’s Covert Resistance to Trump

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11
MAR
2017

A key pillar of Barack Obama’s silent coup against the Trump administration are the deep-state operatives in charge of the gears and levers at the EPA.

Despite Scott Pruitt’s appointment, Obama’s operatives set things in motion and built roadblocks that will take years to change or circumvent.

But now those individuals and plans are getting exposed.

Here’s more from Breitbart

Everyone’s talking about the Deep State now. The other day, Virgil searched “deep state” and found, just in the Google News section, no less than 3.86 million hits. Republican politicians are using the phrase, and so are Democratic pols. In fact, one Democrat, Rep. Ted Lieu of California, chose to “own” the phrase, tweeting, “We are #Deep State.” Translation: Trump, we are coming for you.

Indeed, the Deep State hashtag is now busy, used by both fans and foes of the DS. There are even a bunch of Twitter accounts on the Deep State theme—which may or may not have any connection to reality.

And there are even plays on the phrase, such as DeepStateGate, which by now is familiar to Breitbart readers, and also “Shallow State,” an anti-Republican coinage from David Rothkopf, an appointee in the Clinton administration.

It was different back on December 12, when Virgil first started writing about the Deep State; back then, references were scarce.  Yet today, if one goes to Google Trends and types in “deep state,” this is what one sees: a recent sharp spike in usage.  It’s fun to have company!

And speaking of company, I’ll hope you’ll continue to join me on our tour of the Federal Triangle, the heartland of the Deep State.  We started our tour at the Department of Commerce, and so next we’ll visit the federal bureaucracy in the next building over.

That would be the Environmental Protection Agency, which fills up, in fact, three different buildings, stretching from Constitution Avenue to Pennsylvania Avenue, from 14th Street to 12th Street.  (Plus, of course, the EPA has myriad satellite offices all over the country; the total head-count is more than 15,000, not counting contractors and grantees.)

FederalTriangle_WashingtonDC_2009

The EPA, of course, is right in the middle of the ongoing DC power struggle, which has spilled into open bureaucratic revolt.  On February 16, for example, The New York Timesreported that EPA employees had brazenly been calling senators to urge them to vote against Scott Pruitt, President Trump’s pick to head the agency.  It was, the Times’ Coral Davenport observed, “a remarkable display of activism and defiance that presages turbulent times ahead for the EPA.”

Speaking of turbulence, the career staff at EPA is feeling it.  On March 7, Axios’ Jonathan Swan tweeted a picture of a sign at EPA, offering counseling sessions to fearful careerists:

Feeling Pressured?  Worried About Change at EPA?  The EPA’s Employee Counseling and Assistance Program presents a 45 min. seminar on “Dealing with Change.”

Yes, the delicate snowflakes at the agency need help—your tax dollars at work.

Yet whether they have had counseling or not, EPA-ers seem to be girded for battle.  A rogue Twitter account, AltEPA, billing itself as the “resistance,” has 382,000 followers—and there are many more such accounts in existence.  It’s possible, of course, that some, perhaps most, of these accounts are fakes.  But probably not all.

In the meantime, some EPA people, long ago, developed their own “resistance strategies.”  For instance, Lisa Jackson, the EPA administrator in Barack Obama’s  first term, had a nifty Deep State tactic—she hid her identity, even with her own agency. As far back as 2009, Jackson was using a fictitious name, “Richard Windsor,” for her e-mail, in a seeming attempt to evade the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and other transparency laws.  By some reckonings, such evasion might be counted as a crime, but Jackson suffered no ill consequences.  In fact, she is now a well-paid vice president at Apple.

Given that sort of no-penalty precedent, it’s little wonder that a pervasive culture of clandestine operating still permeates EPA.  To illustrate, we might recall an EPA inspector general’s report prepared at the behest of the House Republicans: In 2014-2015, EPA employees sent or received 3.1 million text messages on government-issued devices; of these, just 86 were archived for the federal records.   So what were all the rest of those 3-million-plus texts about?   Maybe they were all personal, or maybe they were leaks, or maybe they were back-and-forths with Lisa Jackson—we’ll never know.   And we can underscore: that’s just on government equipment; who knows what’s been happening on personal equipment, and on personal accounts.

So as we can see, secrecy is one weapon that EPA lifers can deploy.  Another weapon is complexity.   The same Times reporter on the environmental beat, Coral Davenport, recently interviewed Jackson’s successor at EPA, Gina McCarthy, who served from 2013 to 2017.  McCarthy was eager to outline the torturous process that the Trump administration would have to follow to undo Obama regulations:

If you want to do these executive orders that require a whole rewrite of the rule, you have to get that right, legally.  It took years to do those rules. To now ask for those things to be undone with less staff and low morale—how are they going to do it?

Yes, that’s standard Deep State stuff.  As bureaucrats like to say to the political appointees of any administration, “We were here when you arrive, and we’ll still be here when you depart.  In fact, by the time you figure out how things really work, it’ll be time for you to go!”  In other words, the Deep State is eternal, and throughout that eternity, Deepists have mastered the arcane procedures needed to make any sort of change.  So the message to interlopers is simple: Do it our way, or else face frustration, or even failure.

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