It pays to know people in charge, especially if they are federal regulators. Emails suggest that an Environmental Protection Agency regional administrator used a private AOL email account to correspond with environmentalists.
Such email use is prohibited by agency rules and is seen as a way to skirt transparency requirements.
Emails show that EPA Region 2 Administrator Judith Enck gave advice to environmental activists, including securing government funding, getting meetings with high-level officials and attending events.
“Here again we see a senior EPA appointee drawn from the ranks of green pressure groups using private email accounts for certain work-related correspondence, even their same email account the greens know to contact them on and still do,” Competitive Enterprise Institute senior fellow Chris Horner, whose Freedom of Information Act request turned up Enck’s emails, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Enck was made regional administrator in 2009 under President Obama after spending years working as an environmental activist, including working on environmental issues for the liberal advocacy group New York Public Interest Research Group. EPA’s Region 2 encompasses New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and seven Native American tribal nations.
While serving as a top EPA official, Enck used her private “aol.com” email address to correspond with environmentalists. Emails suggest that she gave activists advice on how to get government funding, get the attention of top EPA officials and attending events.
On July 23, 2010, Miriam Gordon, the California state director of Clean Water Action (CWA), asked Enck if she could help get her on the guest list for an EPA event where various NGOs, local businesses and local governments were talking about financing local recycling efforts. Gordon saw this as a good opportunity to showcase what CWA has been working on and asked Enck to get her invited to the event.
Enck obliged the next day, “I will call [EPA senior policy advisor Sara Willis Hartwell] and try to get you (and me) invited. thanks! hope all is well.”
Gordon sent another email to Enck on June 12, 2011 asking for some “advice”. Gordon told Enck about an EPA grant she was unhappy about not getting, citing the process as “discretionary and frankly unfair”. She was hoping to get the EPA to change their decision and award her funding by meeting with the Region 9 administrator Jared Blumenthal and other agency officials.
Gordon asked Enck if she should “discuss this with Jared if I get the meeting. Should I call the director of Solid Waste first?”