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Opinion: Morning Examiner

Emails expose close coordination between EPA, Sierra Club and other liberal environmental activist groups

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Mark Tapscott,Morning Examiner,Sierra Club,EPA,Keystone XL

Among Washington's most important but rarely covered realities is the daily close coordination among Democratic politicians, executive branch bureaucrats and the left side of the non-profit activism community.

Emails obtained recently through a Freedom of Information Act request submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency by the Energy and Environment Legal Institute exposed a slice of that coordination in the campaign to stop construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

The emails show, according to Fox News correspondent John Roberts, "senior policy officials at the EPA working closely with environmental groups in what appears to be an effort to kill the pipeline."

No surprise here

"On its face, it smacks of classic secret dealing and an uncomfortably close working relationship and one that is known to these parties, but quite plainly not advertised to the public," EELI's Christopher Horner told Roberts in an interview.

Roberts also quoted Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wy., who said, "These damning emails make it clear that the Obama administration has been actively trying to stop this important project for years."

Among the environmental groups noted in the emails obtained by the EELI were the Sierra Club, the Environmental Defense Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council and the National Wildlife Fund.

Conflicts of interest?

Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., reviewed the emails and called for EPA to recuse itself from Keystone deliberations, saying “the revelation of these emails is disturbing and quite contrary to how one would expect the self-proclaimed, most transparent administration in history to act. EPA should recuse themselves from any deliberations regarding the Keystone XL pipeline due to a clear conflict of interest."

Terry also questioned whether recently hired White House senior counselor John Podesta, the founder of another liberal non-profit activist group, the Center for American Progress, was aware of the relationship.

"I believe it’s important for the public to know how far these secret interactions with the administration went. Was the White House privy to these meetings? And did John Podesta at any point have knowledge of or was he involved in coordinating these meetings," Terry asked.

If Podesta was aware of the meetings, Terry said he should also recuse himself from the Keystone XL approval deliberations.

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