Broken Government Threatens A Safe Environment

By Shawn Collins of The Collins Law Firm, P.C.

Here's a good example of why we don't trust our government.1

A lawyer named Bob Sussman used to work at the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, DC from 2009 to 2013. While he was at EPA, Sussman was involved in the agency's decision2 to seek lower limits on allowable ozone pollution. So that there would be less ozone in the environment. Because ozone pollution is significantly responsible for the climate change that threatens the planet and all who live on it.

Then, Sussman left EPA. He went to work consulting for some of the world's biggest polluters, like BP Amoco.

And earlier this year, while working for BP Amoco, Sussman went to EPA, and helped the company argue that the limits on ozone pollution should not be lowered after all, or at least not as much as EPA wants to lower them.

In other words, Sussman got paid by BP Amoco to go to EPA, and argue against the very same ozone rules that he had helped develop when he worked for EPA.

The easiest shot to take here is to say that the standard for allowable ozone pollution should not change depending on who happens to be paying Bob Sussman at the moment-the taxpayers, or BP Amoco.

But this problem is a lot bigger than Bob Sussman. Sussman would defend himself by saying that he has broken no laws....and the fact that he is right in saying so is the saddest part. The truth is that our laws and regulations are often made by elected and agency officials who are the future paid consultants to the very companies that are threatened by those rules, and want them weakened. And who better to try to weaken them than the very officials who made them, and know who to talk to in order to get them either completely dismantled or so larded with exceptions that the law is effectively gutted for the benefit of their new client?

So we know who's on the polluters' payroll (or is auditioning for the job). Seemingly, anybody with a really important government job in Washington, DC. But who's on our payroll? Who's actually working for the people who really need the ozone levels lowered?

1 Huffington Post Green - "Oil Industry Gets Help On Undermining Ozone Standards From A Well-Informed Source" (September 9, 2015)

2 Environmental Protection Agency - Ozone (O3) Standards