Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Judicial Watch takes EPA to court over social media campaign on WOTUS

The conservative group Judicial Watch is taking the Environmental Protection Agency to court over failing to hand over documents detailing its use of social media to promote the Obama administration's Waters of the U.S. Rule. The group filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the EPA to release internal documents and emails related to its use of the Thunderclap social media platform after the Government Accountability Office found its use to be an illegal form of propaganda. The group pointed out in announcing the legal action Wednesday that the GAO report issued in December 2015 concluded that the EPA's use of Thunderclap to send out messages to raise support for the Waters of the U.S. Rule "constitutes covert propaganda" prohibited by law. Judicial Watch gave the EPA until May 3 to divulge internal communications related to its use of Thunderclap, which the agency failed to do. It is now suing the agency in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to force it to release the documents. The lawsuit was filed late last week, but it only announced the lawsuit Wednesday, spokeswoman Jill Farrell told the Washington Examiner. "That the EPA is being sued over this flagrant nonsense is the news," Farrell added in an email. "That they are willing to go to court usually means something unsavory is lurking about, but that's just correlation, not necessarily causation." The lawsuit was announced as EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced he has begun the process to repeal the Waters of the U.S. Rule. It also comes during the administration's "Energy Week," which is meant to underscore President Trump's push to unravel burdensome regulations such as the water rule to spur increased energy development...more

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