EPA Finds Fun and Creative Ways to Waste Taxpayer Dollars

Senator Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., recently issued a report entitled “The Science of Splurging,” which provides several examples of how the Environmental Protection Agency wastes millions of dollars on meaningless projects, frivolous luxuries, and outright employee fraud. Here are just some of the examples:

Contractor “Man Caves.” The EPA’s Office of Inspector General found that contractors hired by the EPA to manage a warehouse left it in a disgraceful state. According to the OIG’s report, “[N]umerous potential security and safety hazards existed at the warehouse, including unsecured personally identifiable information (such as passports).” The warehouse was in “deplorable conditions” as corrosion, vermin feces, and mold were prevalent.

This was not the only problem. The contractors used the warehouse to serve as a “man cave,” as Flake’s report describes it. The workers built unauthorized and hidden personal spaces that they stocked with pin-ups, televisions, couches, and exercise equipment. They kept the spaces a secret by blocking the view of security cameras with partitions and boxes. Apex Logistics, the contracting company, received the contract in 2007, but the EPA did not inspect the warehouse until the Office of Inspector General voiced concerns in 2013.

Flu Research on Twitter. The EPA plans to combat the stomach flu by researching Twitter posts. On January 2014, the agency purchased tweets to conduct flu research. The EPA is conducting a study to develop the use of social media to identify people in the United States that are suffering from stomach flu.

“The Twittersphere will be analyzed by human health specialists to diagnose whether the ‘tweeter’ is in fact suffering from the flu.” Flake’s report explains, “The date of the tweets will then be crosschecked with epidemiological data from the Centers of Disease Control to determine if the tweets correlate with flu rates.”

Flake’s report points out the absurdity of the EPA’s actions:

The EPA claims it will gain groundbreaking knowledge by using Twitter to monitor the overall flu experience. This is the same groundbreaking knowledge that typically any parent with a thermometer has.

EPA, Not CIA. John Beale was the highest paid employee at the EPA and allegedly a “leading expert on climate change.” Beale told senior EPA officials that he was a CIA spy working in Pakistan. He took lengthy absences from work in order to allegedly engage in covert intelligence operations. The only problem was that he never worked for the CIA. For a decade or longer, EPA officials failed to verify any of Beale’s claims and continued to pay him a salary and bonuses. His nonexistent missions actually involved such activities as bike riding and spending time at his vacation home. Beale was away from work for months at a time, the longest absence lasting for two and half years. Beale retired from the EPA in 2011and was finally found out and imprisoned for fraud in 2013. The EPA did not discover Beale’s ruse until the Office of Inspector General finally investigated him. The OIG concluded that “the EPA’s lack of management oversight and weak internal controls…enabled Beale’s” abuses.

Global Methane Initiative. According to the EPA, the Global Methane Initiative is an EPA program meant to advance “cost-effective, near-term methane recovery and use as a clean energy source.” The EPA donated $700,000 to Thailand’s Department of Livestock and Cooperation to help reduce methane from swine farms. The EPA also gave over $100,000 to the International Institute for Energy Conservation in India to determine if the capture of methane from distillery and wine waste was feasible. Since 2001, the EPA has spent $180 million in taxpayer money on grants to foreign governments, private entities, and nongovernmental organizations to fund projects that supposedly reduce global methane emissions.

The EPA does plenty of damage through economically costly regulations, but it is also wasting millions of taxpayer dollars. These examples are just the tip of the iceberg. The EPA needs to take waste and fraud as seriously as it does expanding its power.

Originally Posted at Daily Signal 

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