Palmer unloads on EPA for ‘operating like a police state,’ abusing Alabama companies
WASHINGTON — In a House Oversight and Government Reform committee hearing Thursday, U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer (R-AL6) raked Environmental Protection Agency consultant Dr. Susan Tierney over the coals for the agency’s use of armed agents when investigating possible violators.
“EPA has been very aggressive in enforcement,” Rep. Palmer said, “and it’s gone from a regulatory agency to almost operating like a police state, I’ll just be blunt about it.”
“There have been cases where the EPA, your armed division, has shown up with body armor and weapons drawn. Can you give me an idea of what the threat assessment might be that would justify that kind of intervention?”
Dr. Tierney deflected by responding that she didn’t know what particular case he was describing, and mentioned that when she worked in state government they did have “environmental enforcement activities” where they had to “go in and take control of people who were flagrantly violating the state and federal laws.”
Nonplussed, Rep. Palmer described a case in which EPA agents approached a community’s water treatment plant in full SWAT gear and military-style weapons.
“I know specifically of a case… they showed up in a relatively small town at their waste treatment facility, and I’ve not been to their waste treatment facility but I’m fairly certain there are no sniper’s towers or machine gun nests, or anything there that would justify that kind of intervention.”
“We’ve had at least two of those in Alabama,” he said, “and I just find it interesting that the EPA is implementing these rules and conducting themselves in a way that’s really more of a police state than of a regulatory agency.”
Palmer then changed gears to the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, which one study suggests would raise Alabama power rates by 20 percent.
The plan would require the State of Alabama to cut power plant carbon emissions by 27 percent of 2005 levels by 2030. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that these new rules could result in a loss of approximately 224,000 jobs per year nationwide and increase electricity rates for American homes and businesses by $289 billion per year.
“From my perspective,” Rep. Palmer said, “it is the intention of the EPA, and I think this administration, to eliminate fossil fuel, to shut down the coal industry. They’ve been fairly transparent about it. Their plans are to have you at 80 percent renewables in the next two or three decades, and our electric grid is not designed for that. There’s a study out of Cal Tech that indicates it would cost $1 trillion to update our grid so that it can do that.”
Dr. Tierney countered that the use of natural gas, which we do currently have the technology to utilize as a source of energy, would supplement renewables on the existing grid.
“You realize that when you’re talking about supplementing your renewables with natural gas, you’re admitting that renewables are not a legitimate or reliable source of energy.”
You can watch the entire interaction in the video above.