Trending
MOST READ
How judges, probate attorneys, and guardianship orgs abuse the vulnerable

How judges, probate attorneys, and guardianship orgs abuse the vulnerable

News: Mary Dahlman's problem is all about money. A lot of people want at the estimated $20 million trust Dahlman's deceased mother left to her and... By Michael Barajas 9/5/2012
Revamped Footloose is a rebel with a dancin’ cause

Revamped Footloose is a rebel with a dancin’ cause

Film Review: So this is a question I know you’ve asked yourself time and time again: How can they remake an ’80s pop culture classic like Footloose? By Veronica Salinas 10/19/2011
Easy Green: 10 quick ways to make money in college

Easy Green: 10 quick ways to make money in college

College Issue 2014: Sell clothes. Plato’s Closet is a great place to take your gently worn apparel in exchange for cold, hard cash. They accept clothes, shoes and... By Brittany Minor 8/18/2014
Bun B’s 25-year Reign as King of the Underground

Bun B’s 25-year Reign as King of the Underground

Music: It’s hard to put into context just how long Bun B has been in the rap game, but let’s give it a try. When 17-year old Bernard Freeman laid down... By J.D. Swerzenski 3/5/2014
Rise of the Female Breadwinners: Cynthia Muñoz

Rise of the Female Breadwinners: Cynthia Muñoz

News: Cynthia Muñoz 48; single. Job title: President of Muñoz Public Relations, producer of Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza... By Enrique Lopetegui 8/21/2013
Calendar

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

News

After a powerful lobbyist intervenes, EPA Reverses Stance on polluting Texas county's water

Photo: , License: N/A


When Uranium Energy Corp. sought permission to launch a large-scale mining project in Goliad County, Texas, it seemed as if the Environmental Protection Agency would stand in its way.

To get the ore out of the ground, the company needed a permit to pollute a pristine supply of underground drinking water in an area already parched by drought.

Further, EPA scientists feared that radioactive contaminants would flow from the mining site into water wells used by nearby homes. Uranium Energy said the pollution would remain contained, but resisted doing the advanced scientific testing and modeling the government asked for to prove it.

The plan appeared to be dead on arrival until late 2011, when Uranium Energy hired Heather Podesta, a lobbyist and prolific Democratic fundraiser whose pull with the Obama administration prompted The Washington Post to name her the Capitol's latest "It girl."

Podesta -- the sister-in-law of John Podesta, who co-chaired President Obama's transition team -- appealed directly to the EPA's second in command, Bob Perciasepe, pressing the agency's highest-level administrators to get directly involved and bring the agency's local staff in Texas back to the table to reconsider their position, according to emails obtained by ProPublica through the Freedom of Information Act.

By the end of 2012, the EPA reversed its position in Goliad, approving an exemption allowing Uranium Energy to pollute the aquifer, though in a somewhat smaller area than was originally proposed.

An EPA spokesperson said companies routinely lobby the agency on regulatory issues and that Podesta's entreaties to Perciasepe, now the agency's acting administrator while Obama's nominee to head the EPA, Gina McCarthy, awaits confirmation, played no part in the agency's final decision.

"Bob's involvement was literally a part of what he does on a weekly or daily basis," the spokesperson said. "Lobbyists, etcetera, get in touch, he meets with them, he points them in the right direction."

Factors other than Podesta's efforts clearly weighed on the EPA as the Goliad case played out, including the agency's fraught relationship with Texas officials and the Obama administration's desire to demonstrate support for energy development.

Still, documents leave little doubt that Podesta, described by Corporate Board Member magazine as the number one person "you need to know in Obama's Washington," kept the Goliad County issue alive when the EPA's scientific analysis seemed to doom it to failure.

Recently in News
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus