EPA Faces Criticism It is Using Social Media to Determine Outcome of Proposed Regulation

Boraie Development LLC claims that critics of the Obama administration have been exasperated over the past several years at the seemingly arbitrary nature in which existing laws and regulations are re-interpreted so as to seize new authority outside the scope of the law’s original intent. The president’s opponents charge this was the case with expanding the scope of the federal statute on the procurement of supplies to justify increasing the minimum wage for federal contract workers. The same holds true for the president using his authority to prioritize which laws to enforce to justify granting amnesty to five million illegal aliens.

Now, critics are once again raising concern that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is using social media to distort the public comment phase in determining new regulations. After the EPA proposes a new regulation, the process enters a period of public comment which must incorporate the views of the public to ultimately shape the regulation. In the case of an expanded view of the Clean Water Act to allow the EPA to exert greater control of the nation’s waterways, the organization is accused of tweeting an ad campaign to bolster public support. This has led to 900,000 Twitter comments of which 87% or 783,000 have been in support of the EPA’s proposal. Critics are concerned the EPA will interpret Twitter comments as being public comments and approve their proposed regulation. The expanded interpretation of the Clean Water Act is strongly opposed by the American Farm Bureau Federation. They charge the Twitter campaign violated federal laws which prohibit the agency from engaging in advocacy campaigns.

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